This month comes out the book Hecho en barrio, published by Éditions Revelatoer. The photographer, Jean-Félix Fayolle, presents his work as follows.
Hecho en barrio is a long-term photographic work begun in 2007 on the youth of working-class neighborhoods in Mexico, mainly in the city of San Luis Potosí, capital of the state of the same name. This agglomeration of 2 million inhabitants is located in the northern center of the country, 400 km north of Mexico City.
While studying international trade and foreign languages, I did a year as exchanged student at the university in San Luis Potosí in 2006-2007 to finish my degree. A little by chance, I settled in the popular district of Pavón, on the outskirts of the capital Potosina in the town of Soledad de Graciano Sanchez. I preferred this atmosphere to the sanitized one of the upscale neighborhoods behind their high walls and barbed wire. The barrio seemed more open to me, the public space busy and the young people friendly. I started meeting groups of people and befriended them. I first meet a first gang in the city center, the Tropilocos XXI, whose neighborhood was on my bike route to get to college. They invited me to accompany them on a pilgrimage for several days, which allowed us to get to know and understand each other better. It was the start of a long friendship, both with them and with groups from different parts of the city.
After a few photos taken during that year, I decided to change my economist hat for that of photographer reporter. After a first exhibition, I returned to Mexico almost every year to find these different bands, each time with a new project. I first focused my work mainly in two neighborhoods: that of the Tropilocos of barrio XXI in the city center and that of Pavón, on the outskirts, with its multiple groups that are part of two enemy families: Pavón York and Wepavón. Thanks to their complicity and trust, I have been able to witness the evolution of each of them in recent years. I came to realise the explosion of violence and insecurity linked to drug trafficking, as well as the ravages of drugs and especially crystal meth on these fragile lives. Despite ever-growing insecurity and each time a new heartbreak when one of them left forever, it was always a great pleasure to find them again.
This subject of this forgotten youth is therefore the reason why I decided to become a photographer. More than a reportage, it is a real relationship of friendship that has been refined over time with these different bands. They are the ones who decided and motivated me to believe in my dreams, those of doing a job that could seem inaccessible.
They really contributed to what I became. Mexico is deeply engraved in me, it is part of my life. They made me become a photographer. My technique and my gaze over these years improved and became more refine. This is the subject that made me become professional. How to show these images, which images and why? What did I want to tell? was I going to be positive, negative, or both? Would I avoid clichés and above all respect the people and the country I photographed.
Like anyone at the beginning, I flashed on stereotypes, tattoos, weapons, drugs… Over the years I tried to detach myself from that, because it is not the most important or representative of this universe. But unfortunately, I still had to continue to rub shoulders with these clichés which were becoming more and more trivialized. Drugs have evolved, weapons have become more sophisticated, violence has exploded. Over the years, I had to take more and more precautions. Previously, by being under the protection of the “villains” in the neighborhood, I risked nothing. From now on, I spend time with the first targets of organized crime. This whole context has changed, has worsened. What drives me is to be able to continue to bear witness to these realities, this daily life which is becoming more and more complex while respecting as closely as possible the dignity and the voice of the people I meet.
With regular monitoring for almost 15 years, today I am very happy to be able to share part of this experience with this book. It compiles different slices of life and themes, representative of the daily life of an entire generation, of the youth of San Luis Potosí. I hope that this work will allow us to better understand the daily life of young people in Mexico, born in a popular neighborhood, left on the margins of society by their physical appearance and their social environment in a context undermined by hyperviolence.
Jean-Félix Fayolle : Hecho en barrio
176 pages • Format 21 x 29 cm
Distribution Art & Paper – Saveca
ISBN : 978-2-493152-04-6
Prix : 40 € TTC