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A lens on Mexico’s mean streets

Celebrated Mexico-based photographers, including one badly beaten by police who took his cameras early in January, will talk about challenges in covering Mexican violence at a panel sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Center for Border & Global Journalism next month.

“A Lens on Mexico’s Mean Streets” will feature Bernandino Hernández and Enric Martí on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the UA Main Library’s Information Commons Room 112A. Mort Rosenblum, a professor at the UA School of Journalism, will moderate. Global news photographer Enrico Dagnino also will be on hand.

Hernández’s electrifying photos of life and death in Acapulco — which will be shown during the event — depict a reality that words can’t approach. He taught himself photography as an 11-year-old orphan and now, with a network of contacts, often reaches crime scenes before police. The Associated Press stringer’s lens captures grim brutality with touches of humanity, conveying the tragic irony of a peaceable people suffering indescribable violence.

Martí, based in Mexico City as AP’s regional photo editor for Latin America, the Caribbean and Spain, brought his work to the annual Bayeux-Calvados War Correspondents Awards in France. It stopped the show. Seasoned conflict photographers and correspondents moved from picture to picture, taking in their overall impact and subtle nuances. Hernández then captivated them, describing the obstacles he faces with self-deprecating humor and chilling detail.

This month, Guerrero State police beat Hernández mercilessly and smashed his camera, threatening to do worse if he kept taking pictures — which he has vowed to do.

Click on image to view a flier for the Feb. 13 event

Martí’s own award-winning work is legendary. He worked in Nicaragua during the 1980s and then moved to Sarajevo, where he joined AP. He was AP Middle East photo editor based in Jerusalem and Cairo during tumultuous years before moving to Mexico.

Dagnino, an Italian who lives in Paris, is filming a documentary on Hernández. Dagnino covered the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as conflicts and events across the Middle East and in Romania, Kosovo, Chechnya, Somalia, Rwanda, the Congo and Afghanistan.

Rosenblum, co-director of the Center for Border & Global Journalism, worked with Martí in Bosnia and the Middle East and is a former AP special correspondent and bureau chief in Africa, Southeast Asia, Argentina and France.

The four also will attend an informal gathering on Monday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), where a dozen of Hernández’s photos will be displayed.

Contacts: Prof. Mort Rosenblum – mort.rosenblum@gmail.com; Mike Chesnick, outreach coordinator – mchesnick1@email.arizona.edu