The Roads Most Traveled – a photo presentation and talk with Photojournalist Don Bartletti
CIR is proud to partner with the the New Mexico Humanities Council to present Pulitzer Prize Winning Photojournalist Don Bartletti, here in Santa Fe to share his experiences – and his brilliant photographs – documenting human migration.
Location: Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Rooms, 6401 Richards Ave.
CIR Members – $10 in advance, $12 at the door
Non-members and guests – $12 in advance, $15 at the door.
For students and teachers, the presentation is free, but due to high demand, you must register.
After almost four decades working along the U.S./Mexico border, Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Don Bartletti believes migration for survival is as old as humanity, unstoppable as the wind and frequently misunderstood. In his 1-hour illustrated lecture he details how he photographed courage, fear, joy, hate, hope and heartbreak on both sides of this political boundary.
Like a visual anthropologist, Bartletti takes his audience through 38 years and 1200 miles of the border fence. In 1979, it’s little more than barbed wire pounded into the mud by thousands of feet; in the mid-80’s it looks like a schoolyard barrier with countless hands clinging to the chain links. By the turn of the 21st century, it’s a two-story barrier topped with coiled razor wire between Tijuana and San Ysidro. On the east side of the Colorado River, it’s a 12-ft-high steel plate that extends arrow-straight across miles and miles of the vast Sonoran desert. Along the winding Rio Grande River in Texas, the steel pickets occasionally take a shortcut, putting some ranches and homes on the south side of the fence.
Bartletti is unapologetic about his success as a documentary photojournalist: “It took a great amount of research, an exhausting amount of time and a fair amount of luck. The easy part was being honest and ethical.”
On the U.S. side of the border, deportation, nativist backlash and protests large and small are fodder for pundits, politicians and your neighbors. Bartletti’s narration of his photographs is mercifully devoid of spin about America’s most politically charged debate. He keeps us clearly focused on what he witnessed in real time.
Reflecting on the importance of photojournalism, he says, “Ethical reporting with a camera organizes the chaos of life.” Bartletti continued, “The hard won right to visually document our democracy in all its grandeur and intimacy creates the real time evidence we need for contemporary reflection and historical preservation.”
In 2003, his 6-part photo essay in the Los Angeles Times, “Enrique’s Journey” was awarded a Pulitzer for Feature Photography. Bartletti was the first U.S. photojournalist to document the ongoing Central American diaspora of children clinging to freight trains and their dreams of crossing into the U.S.
Bartletti retired from the Los Angeles Times in late 2015. He is a guest lecturer and teacher at universities, high schools and civic organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. His photographs have been exhibited in museums internationally and are published in books and scholarly studies.
The New Mexico Humanities Council is our partner for this event.