Nicolas Enriquez

Nicolas Enriquez was born in the city of Cali, Colombia in 1993. At the age of 19, Nicolas decided to travel to New York to study Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at The International center of Photography where he graduated in 2014.

He has developed an interest in documenting urban conflict, and political and human rights issues. He currently works as a freelance photographer for the New York Daily News and his work has been published in media outlets such as The New York Times, American Photography, Getty images,The Atlantic, Daily Mail UK, Quartz, PDN, and Corriere della sera.

"living in the hood is like living in prison" quote of

“living in the hood is like living in prison”

Karen, mother of Kirell and aunt of Smokey looks at her phone wile watching TV inside her apartment in Brooklyn.

Karen, mother of Kyrell and aunt of Smokey.

“Looney”,active member of the Nation yells “amor de rey” king love at his group while they're looking for “Trinitarios” members from an enemy gang in a subways station. Brooklyn/NYC

“Looney”, active member of the Nation yells “amor de rey” king love at his group while they’re looking for members from an enemy gang in a subway station

The Bloodline is a chapter designated by the gang of the Latin Kings to the State of New York. The Latin Kings is one of the largest and most organized gangs in America with more than 35,000 active members.

This Photo Essay focuses on documenting not only the extreme life conditions for the majority of gang members but also the relation between gang members and society. It explores the intimacy and naivety of teenagers who have been pushed by their economic status,
racial, and social issues to survive in a hostile environment in one of the most developed cities in the world. It also draws attention to the happiness, unity and respect they show each other and the importance of the family and religion in their lives.

“From here I can shoot the J train” is what “B-Rad” said to his brother in law “Smokey”.B-Rad is not a Latin King, he is a member of the “Ysquad” Gang that rules a small neighborhood in Brooklyn.

“From here I can shoot the J train” is what “B-Rad” said to his brother in law “Smokey”.

Smokey lights up a marijuana cigarette while seating in his room at the Bushwick housing projects, Smokey is the leader of the South-Side tribe of the Latin Kings gangs in Brooklyn and he tries to keep his people from smoking anything else that is not marijuana because he wants them to be able to protect the hood at any time.

Smokey, leader of the South-Side tribe of the Latin Kings lights up a marijuana cigarette while seating in his room at the Bushwick housing projects.

5) “Flash” after smoking marijuana, one of the things that Latin Kings do the most is hang out and smoke.

“Flash” after smoking marijuana

Blask got his hand cut with a broken bottle during a fight with members from an enemy gang called the Trinitarios, these kind of injuries are common between gang members since fights quickly escalate from fists to razor blades, knives and guns.

Blask got his hand cut with a broken bottle during a fight with members from an enemy gang called the Trinitarios,

As a Colombian, I am aware of the political and social situations of my country, and am familiar with the culture and their way of life. I am drawn to people who have to live in extreme conditions, and the risks they take to be capable of maintaining their economic status. The
stressors behind why they create or get involved in gangs and what their purpose is. In my work I endeavor to show my point of view of social and cultural issues, often referencing South and Latin American urban conflicts such as drug dealing, narco-traffic, gangs and corruption.

I feel inspired by the efforts of these teenagers seeking for a community that understands them and supports them, and how they find the answer to this questions in Gangs, a community that forces them to juggle between being a teenager and surviving in the concrete
jungle.

(from left to right) King Looney, King Chucho, King Smokey and King Buckets rest in their apartments after a long day at a meeting with other gang members, smoking some marijuana and drinking beer.

(from left to right) King Looney, King Chucho, King Smokey and King Buckets rest in their apartments after a long day at a meeting with other gang members, smoking some marijuana and drinking beer.

Gangs have their own security systems to keep themselves safe from other gangs or police officers, gang members are selected to stand outside the projects, patrol the area and communicate the gang if there's is anything suspicious.

Smokey and Chucho play with one of the toys of Kyrel, for a long time I was very interested in the playful and childish side of being a gang member, I found fascinating the contrast of situations between having friends at home and then involving themselves in risky situations just minutes later in the street.

Smokey and Chucho play with one of the toys of Kyrel.

View of one of the project buildings located in the Bushwick housing projects. this building located in the heart of Bushwick are home for several gangs including the Latin Kings, YSquad and Bloods. the building are always patrolled by NYPD officers and security cameras.

Building in the Bushwick housing projects, home for Latin Kings, YSquad and Bloods.

A distant familly is one of tyhe main reasons why teenagers join gangs, The lack of support and understanding pushes teenagers to seek for a community that will help them and thewy find the answer to this questions in gangs.

Smokey, leader of the southside Latin Kings gang in Brooklyn poses for a photo while rinking a beer inside one of the housing projects in Brooklyn.

Smokey, leader of the southside Latin Kings gang in Brooklyn

Street level drug dealing is the main source of income of the gang, a large base of their transactions come from the homeless and users in the immediate community. In the photo a drug deal of marijuana happens in one of the upper floors of the housing building, trying to avoid security cameras in the lobby and outside the building.

A drug deal happens in one of the upper floors of the housing building, trying to avoid security cameras.

Smokey walks down the street while taking his shirt off before trying to fight some other gang members from a rival gang calle the Trinitarios.

Smokey taking his shirt off in preparation to fight rival gang members.

(left to right) Poppa, Teflon pose for a photo taken inside their apartment in Bushwick Brooklyn, Teflon is a member of the Bloods gang and is now in prison for missing court dates.

(left to right) Poppa, Teflon inside their apartment in Bushwick Brooklyn.

Teflon shows the table where he has desplayed a gun laying on top of a Bible, several bullets, a balance for drugsand a book of the law of attraction, drug dealing and violence are part of the daily live of gang members in New York.

Gang members and friends mourn the dead of Simbaa who died after being stabbed 20 times on the chest in Williamsburg-Brooklyn. dead has become something familiar to gang members, memorial ceremonies and visits to the hospital are common and they always live with the fear of who is gonna be the next one.

Gang members and friends mourn the death of Simbaa who died after being stabbed 20 times on the chest in Williamsburg-Brooklyn.

6) Demetrius smokes a joint of marijuana at his apartment in Brooklyn, Demetrius was released from jail 1 month ago after spending 3 years incarcerated.

Demetrius smokes a joint at his apartment in Brooklyn.

Karens baby, Kirell, sleeps at his home in the Bushwick projects, place that he shares with his uncle “Smokey” he rules this neighborhood for the Latin King Nation and wants Kirell to be part of the gang when he grows up.

Karens baby, Kirell, sleeps at his home in the Bushwick projects. His unlce “Smokey” wants Kirell to be part of the gang when he grows up.

To see more of Nicolas’ work, please visit his website



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