Featured in “Tone It Down” 4/18/11
In the late 60’s through the 70’s Mexico City was growing at a rate of 24000 people a month. Most of these people were from rural areas and were subsistence farmers. Many were not familiar with indoor plumbing, the only electricity they knew was a bare bulb sometimes hanging outside their palm thatched huts. They came for work and were unprepared for the city. Many settled in Shanty Towns, called Lost Cities in Mexico, on the outskirts of the city. Cardboard, plastic, corrugated metal and scrap wood homes huddled closely together with open sewers running between them. They were constantly harrassed by the police and told me at night bulldozers would sometimes collapse the walls of the exterior huts. The government wanted them to move saying they would build housing but the residents didn’t trust them and had nowhere to go. The leader of this settklement of 5000 people was a school teacher who lived in the center of the maze with uzzi carrying security at different checkpoints as you were led through the maze. I spent a day inside the one of these settlements in the early 70’s getting to know the people and photographing them. This is a fairly typical one room dwelling although they had a pretty big bed compared to others.
Tri-X Scanned Film, Nikkormat Camera with either a 50 or 35 mm lens.