paulturounet.com/estamos-buscando-a/riveting-photographs

Estamos Buscando A - We're Looking For and the exploration into the migrant experience began in 2002 with a series of intimate portraits for site-specific installations along the U.S. – Mexico border on the steel wall in Tijuana that divides the two countries. In an effort to create a sense of the process being a collaboration, I used large-format positive/negative Polaroid materials, giving the migrant the resulting print as a record of that one moment of such significant personal transformation while I retained the negative, processing them in the field. The resulting negatives were then printed in the darkroom on 1/4 inch steel plates that had been coated with a gelatin silver emulsion. Each plate measured 16 x 20 inches and weighed approximately 30 lbs.. Once completed, the steel plates were permanently riveted to the border wall in Tijuana, where the migrant had been encountered and photographed. By permanently affixing the steel plate photographs to the border wall in Mexico, the retablos served not only as signs of respect and as a homage to those photographed, but also as spiritual signs for other migrants who would come upon them while making their own enduring journeys.

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