Mari Kon was born in New York City in 1990 and is currently based in Queens, NY. She graduated from the Bard College Photography Department in 2012. She has a new book of photographs published by ROMAN NVMERALS. Her work was recently featured in an exhibition at Distillery Gallery in Boston.
I drove through El Paso on a road trip in 2011. I went back last year in 2015. My interest lies in the natural and constructed landscape beside the border which follows the course of the Rio Grande. These photographs are taken close to the Rio Grande or of the river itself, even it’s dry riverbeds. This project is inspired by the landscape that is created by the physical border and the intangible quality of the border, that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, which used to be one in the same less than a decade ago. There are many areas along the border that are in fact, borderless, and consist of mountains and desert. The history of this area is also inspiring to my work and though it is not completely representative of this history, it defines my reasoning for choosing this area to focus on.
A bit about El Paso-Ciudad Juarez: There are several monuments that are cut in half by the border, such as Mount Cristo Rey, and needless to say, many families that have been kept apart because of the extreme violence caused by the drug cartels in Juarez. This violence peaked 2010 and now it’s quite safe in the area closest to El Paso. It’s very dangerous for people to cross over, but sometimes it’s worth the risk. El Paso itself is very safe city, where the US Army’s second largest post, Fort Bliss is located. Much of the population is employed by the army in some way. El Paso is the safest large city in the US, though Ciudad Juarez is still recovering from widespread violence. In 2008 Juarez was considered the most dangerous city in the world.
To view more of their work please visit their website.