“If we’ll not find her at the end of the day she will be lost forever, I’m sorry for her mum”, says the forensic anthropologist and criminologist Israel Ticas, while looking at the impenetrable vegetation around him. He is digging into the woods in a remote area controlled by the street gang “La Mara Salvatrucha” to find Reina Isabella Sanchez, a 20 years old girl who disappeared in 2013, she was the girlfriend of a police man. Reina will never be found.
After 12 years of bloody civil war, El Salvador is now experiencing a kind of subtle conflict. Street gangs such as La Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) or Barrio18 rule over the population by fear: "Ver, oir y callar" (look, listen and shut up) is a motto you see on the walls all around the country, where the gangs dictate people's life.
With an average murder rate of a war zone Salvadorians are not just being killed but are also vanishing, according to La Fiscalia General De La Republica (FGR) from 2008 till 2016 there have been 11500 disappearances.
Israel Ticas is the only criminologist of one of the world’s most violent countries, his job is looking for the disappeared ones, he wanders in a world shaped by people who kill and others that get killed, finally speaking for those who are lost.
“The main thing that keeps me doing this is the pain of the families who have lost their loved ones, they are like zombies, their heart is gone with their sons” said Mr Ticas, Also Known as “the engineer”.
The project tries to evoke the painful universe of a man questioningthe relationship between his place and the cycle of death around him.
"You have to understand that it can happen and you'll never know when. I’ve understood this when my brother never came back and I made peace with fear" tells Reyes Cosio Rosas a shark hunter from El Sargento, a small fishing village in Baja California. Every night he faces the dark waters of the Sea of Cortez for a living.
Jacques Cousteau has defined this place "The world's aquarium”: its waters host more than 900 species of fish and over 30 cetacean's types but years of overfishing have dramatically affected its delicate ecosystem.
For more than a decade the community of shark fishermen or "Tiburoneros" from El Sargento has been forced to migrate to the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula, due to the state of the Sea of Cortez. They spend most of their life away from their families in abandoned islands which seem outposts at the edge of the world. Everyday they navigate up to 40 miles from the coast for catching bigger sharks into an infinite routine.
The project follows an emotional journey through the relationship between these men and the nature which surrounds them, where they are unexpected guests and what keeps you alive can also kill you.
Facing The Blue
Shark fishing in Mexico is considered one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs in the world. "Miedo y respecto" (fear and respect) are two words that Reyes Cosio, a 10 years experienced shark fisherman, always uses to define the relationship between himself and the surrounding environment. The increasing demand coming from markets all over the world, particularly from Asia, brought the overall population of sharks to an unprecedented low rate, with some species suffering up to a 80% loss. And while shark fishing in Mexico remains a very common practice, the growing concern by the international community over preservation of sharks has pushed the Mexican government to impose tight controls and limits on local fishermen.
On the other hand, the shortage of fish due to the overfishing in Southern California's coastal waters is forcing a growing number of fishermen to turn their attention to shark fishing. The attempt to find a balance between the local communities needings and the preservation of the local ecosystem, is not an easy task. Some Puerto San Carlos's fishermen, a small village in Magdalena Bay, are trying to convert part of their activities into tourism. Yet, these efforts require resources and investments that are hard to get for such small communities.
One Love Only
Beyond the white sandy beaches and the upbeat notes of reggae music, Jamaica reveals a solid tradition of intolerance against homosexual and transgender expressions. The country's society has a strong religious background outlined by a paranoid defense of its' core values. Inside the ghettos, ultraconservative churches and gang culture play an important role: the virility displayed in such contexts collides with the notion of homosexuality, and a gay man is perceived as the embodiment of anti-male qualities. The Offenses against the Person Act condemns consensual sex between men and any kind of public expression of homosexuality, with charges for the "abominable crime of buggery" that can result in a sentence of up to ten years' hard labour in jail.
In a country where homophobia is a cultural norm, LGBT people are forced to live at the borders of society, leaving their family and community, and for many of them the streets are the last and only place to survive. "They shot me when I was coming back home after work, and I had to run for my life" says one gay man in Kingston. "Now I lost my house, my job, everything else."
Once crossed the border, you can breathe a sense of suspense; on one hand the buildings marked by swarms of shrapnel from mortars and grenades, on the other, the silence of the minefields on the border with Croatia. Twenty years have passed since the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This conflict still remains a legacy of unresolved issues for the people who lived through those times. While for young generations it constitute a wound not yet healed. Today there are 4,000 people still missing in Bosnia. “I live in the hope of finding them” Fikret bacic says who lost his family in 92 and he is still looking for them. The mourning is not processed and it remains as static in the thoughts of entire families. It seems like the expanse of woods and mountains had swallowed the people without any trace. “I don’t feel safe” admits Anto, the fear still creeps among the houses seeking for accomplices looks. “If a Serb comes in my land, even if it represents some kind of authority, i welcome him with an ax” adds Anto. The fear is a legacy that continues to burn in the soul of the local people, but at the same time it nourishes expectations for the future. The exodus caused by the diaspora has also brought some fresh air; many have decided to come back to build a future in their country, enriching the shapeless constellation that is the Bosnian identity.
Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet reached its own economic stability, and for now Europe remains distant. the ethno nationalist elite in power keeps its citizens at bay. “The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Bosnia is surviving”, affirms a young boy from Novi Grad. The recent floods have brought more pain and destruction in this already plagued country, but at the same time they have triggered new feelings of aggregation that were dormant for too long. My intention is to carry a path which starts from the past’s ghosts till nowadays’s feelings in a country with so diverse shades.
Beyond the place
"Beyond the place" is a project which aiming to show the impact of words on the people's faces discriminated for their sexual orientation and to unearth the widespread and deep-rooted impact of homophobic acts into the italian society. It is thus highlighted the sometimes surprising "banality of evil". The project originates from a long collection of words obtained from free association in answer to the question "what's the first word that comes to mind when thinking about gay people?". More than two hundred people were interviewed on the italian streets and the majority responded with offensive references. the discrimination that goes beyond a specific place is deeply rooted in the minds of those who see the other as wrong. What effect do these words have on people's lives? Various testimonies of gay people who have decided to denounce the insults received had been collected. The project is presented in the form of a diptych: on the one hand, eyes, skin, hair, a face, an emotion, an expression of the reaction to an offensive nickname. On the other hand the place where the verbal, physical or psychological violence occurred. It turns out that the most common places (schools, hospitals, public spaces) are the first containers of that suffering. Every diptych reveals a word and a story, which had been recorded in various parts of italy from north to south, and every person react to a word collected from the sample of 250 people.
Gino, 68 years, Piazza Vittoria, Palermo (Sicily) 28/06/1993
Giacomo, 23 years, State University of Milan, Department of Biology, Milan (Lombardia), March 2010
Alcide, 27 years, Palazzina azzurra, San Benedetto del Tronto (Marche), june 2012
Maximilliano, 44 years, Centro Direzionale, Napoli (Campania) 1999
Massimo, 58 years, train from Messina to Palermo (Sicily) 2007.
Fulvio , 34, Vucciria , Palermo (Sicily), 08.2012
Marco, 28 years, Bagnolo in Piano (Emlia Romagna), 04.2002
Simone, 18 years, San Benedetto Del Tronto (Marche), 2011
Fabio, 23 years, Somma Vesuviana, (Campania) 01.2014
Valter , 26, Napoli (Campania)
Fabio, 23 years, Trafficking Mira-Venice (Veneto), 2006
In Malpica de Bergantinos, one of the first coastal villages in "La Costa da Morte" (Coast of Death) in Galicia, percebeiros, or gooseneck barnacle fishermen, scale between cliffs and breaking seas in search of the long-necked crustaceans. Percebes, or gooseneck barnacles, sell for around 100 euros per kilo, and sometimes more, depending on the swell and the season. Every time they go out, there is never even a sliver of certainty that says their coming back home that evening.