Every week we will be sharing an inspirational figure from Latin America, someone who we think you deserve to know about. Our aim is to spread the creativity and passion for their subject and hopefully inspire you as well! This week we chose the documentary photographer Christian Rodriguez from Uruguay.
Christian Rodriguez is a documentary photographer and filmmaker from Uruguay who explores themes related to social inequalities, gender, identity and underrepresented communities working all over the world. This is a series about the Tarahumaras, an indigenous community in northern Mexico, in the part of the Sierra Madre Occidental that crosses the territory of the state of Chihuahua and the southwest of the states of Durango and Sonora. The Rarámuri means “the one of the light feet” or “runners on foot”, and comes from rare, foot, and died, to run. They use “Huaraches” – the name given to simple sandals – for run and work in daily life. In their language, the term rarámuri refers specifically to the men, women are referred to as mukí (individually) and as omugí or igómale (collectively). The “Rarámuris” (Tarahumara) are believed to be descended from the Mogolian culture.
The existence of the Rarámuris is greatly threatened by drug violence, cultivation, and trade in this region. The Sierra Madre is one of the most productive drug growing regions on Earth. One devastating effect is again deforestation. Logging is not only controlled by the Mexican government, but also practiced illegally by loggers and drug lords who use the forests to grow marijuana or opium or as space for their operations. Narco-trafficking weighs heavily on the Tarahumara, as the drug lords force the farmers to grow drugs instead of their own crops. Additionally, the government sprays drug fields with strong herbicides that also kill subsistence crops of the Tarahumara. Herbicides also pollute and destroy the natural environment on which they depend. Violence between drug cartels results in the killing and torture of many Tarahumara.
“For me, photography is a way of understanding my own life experiences and everything that surrounds me. I work with themes that are not usually covered in any other media outlets but they are very important for the communities.”