"A fresh language that no one had ever used in photography" is what Richard Misrach says he found in the desert. That's not an overstatement. After a book of photographs taken in Berkeley in the 1960s, Misrach singlehandedly reinvented American landscape photography. Since Ansel Adams and the Sierra Club calendars, there hadn't been a new aesthetic vision for the environment.
Showing beauty alonside ruin, Misrach changed everything.
More recently, he spent five years on the U.S.-Mexico border. That's ground zero now.
To produce Border Cantos, Richard Misrach collaborated with artist-musician Guillermo Galindo, who created instruments out of artifacts found along the border fence: clothing, shotgun shells, drag tires, and toys. These were exhibited in 2016.
Each summer, corpses are discovered in the Southwestern deserts. The death toll rose in the 1990s when the Clinton administration ramped up border security in cities. When it was discovered that migrants were not giving up, simply heading further out to the harsh deserts, the administration did not change its policies.
Artifacts like those found by Galindo and Misrach continue to accumulate, like the losses themselves.
Border Cantos at Bookshop.org. The sale benefits the Barrio bookstore in Tucson, Arizona, featuring the work of Latino writers.