Footprints: Visual Anthropology and Design meet in the work of Saul Flores
Image: Saul Flores
I recently came across Saul Flores as we are part of NC State University, in the States. His photographic work [more like visual anthro to me] on “The Walk of the Immigrants” has already been publicized by various places such as TED[x] , NPR and others. But which is the real reason I wanted to mention this project in this humble blog? Because we love to showcase projects that are real an this one is not meaning to do more than provide a window for a personal journey on immigration [and the big walk his own family did]. It’s not a needless fancy project by a huge NGO and is not claiming a “Saving the World” motto, but it is more related to what we have talked on the blog on collaboration and multivocality in the realm of design and anthropology. Here is what Saul writes…
“Over the past few years I have dedicated most of my time and energy into a project called the Walk of the Immigrants. The project itself started when I was a Junior at North Carolina State University trying to find a clearer path towards cultural understanding between our communities. As tension rose for Latin America, and for my family, I felt that there was a middle path that needed to be explored to best remind people of the commonalities that we have as one larger community. The solution that I found were photographs.
Press the image to watch Saul Flores’ Video on Kickstarter
As a result, I began an image-based narrative that turned into a walk across 10 major Latin American countries – Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. This project was a merge between design, philanthropy, and culture studies, and it was my way of depicting and understanding the people around me.
On May 18th, 2010, I packed a Nikon D80, a rosary, and a map, and began a journey that was going to last me 5,328 miles over the span of three months. During my trip I had an incredible amount of support from the people in our local communities. Families from all over the globe and from different paths in life were excited to learn about the different voices of Latin America and the stories that they told. One of the primary goals for my trip was to rebuild a school in my mother’s native community with the revenue I obtained from the images I sold from the project. In short, I was trying to take photographs that induce social change in the US and in Latin America. I was trying to bring education to Atencingo, Mexico. It’s exciting to say that the Walk of the Immigrants worked. Over the past two years I have spent my time giving lectures, curating my first photography exhibit from the project, and writing my first book. During this past month the exhibit finally came to a close at NCSU Libraries, and this is why I’ve decided to message you all. The school has been rebuilt and we are ready to begin part two. Today we launch FOOTPRINTS, a national traveling exhibit to display the photographs from the Walk of the Immigrants.
THE FOOTPRINTS PROJECT IN KICKSTARTER
We are trying to fundraise $6,700 to package, store, manage, and duplicate the exhibit so that it can begin traveling across the United States. If you have a few minutes, please watch the video. I feel a huge connection and responsibility to this project, and I thank you again for all of the continued support. I am asking you all to please contribute in any way that you can, whether it’s by backing the project or simply sharing this project with friends and relatives that you think could help realize my vision. This journey is constantly giving new direction to my life, and I believe Footprints will continue to do the same for me and for others. I hope to continue to use these images to ease the tension between our countries, and ultimately create a larger human community that we are all part of. I really cannot fulfill this project by myself, and I would love your support to realize the potential of these images.