Too often, the general vision of poor countries and oppressed peoples is provided by the white male gaze and viewpoint.
People – journalists, photographers and tourists – from the United States come to Mexico for example, for two weeks. And it is their US-centric version of the world that makes its way into the English-language media and into the viral videos and photos.
These visitors are only capable of reproducing tropes and objectifying locals because they do not know or comprehend much about the shattering injustices and bravery of local life.
Efrain was my close friend’s brother. He died suddenly last week. He was an incredible photographer (and teacher) who will likely never be known outside of Mexico, because he didn’t have the privilege of being from the US or Europe. But his photos were beautiful, respectful, and generous. Photos are never objective. And his – rather than othering the subjects, as white male visitors so often do – showed his deep appreciation and understanding of them.
The following photos are just a small selection from his most recent photos.
[Tamara Pearson is a journalist and author of The Butterfly Prison and children's book The Beauty Rules of Flowertown. She blogs at resistancewords.com.]