Curated by Erin McCarley
Runs September 22 – October 29, 2011

Image © Dana Romanoff

BorderLines, curated by Erin McCarley, is the first exhibition to be presented by the new Colorado Photographic Arts Center (formerly Working With Artists), located in Lakewood’s Belmar district. The show brings together three photo-essays that examine life on the US/Mexico border and approaches the controversial issue of immigration through the perspective of the emigrant; in doing so it seeks answers to questions usually ignored by the US media: What are the social, political and economic forces that cause people to leave their homes, their roots, and their families behind? And what dangers do they face, on both sides of the border, in their epic journey to a land of greater opportunity?

No Man’s Land: The Women of Mexico by Boulder-based photojournalist Dana Romanoff was photographed over the course of three years, 2006-2009. It presents the lives of emigrant families in rich and intimate detail, and provides an economic context for why people migrate. US immigration policies, drug cartels, a militarized border, and the US economic crash have all influenced the historic migration patterns. In Mexico, women are taking over the men’s roles: the traditional Mexican culture of machismo has given way to a new structure the women call “pura mujer” – purely women.

Romanoff has worked as a photojournalist and multimedia producer around the globe. Her awards include the Anthrpographia Human Rights and Multimedia Award; Photographer of the Year International; and a prestigious internship at National Geographic Magazine.

Image © Mike Kane

Arizona Border Vigilantes by Mike Kane (Seattle, WA) concentrates on the activities of Anti-Immigrant Border Militias operating along the US/Mexico border, with a focus on Ranch Rescue -a heavily-armed militia based at Camp Thunderbird, Douglas, AZ. Kane’s 2003-04 B&W series documents captured immigrants being handed over to US Border Patrol agents, but immigrant-rights activists suspect that border militias are responsible for many unexplained disappearances and murders of illegal immigrants.

Mike Kane is an award-winning freelance photographer specializing in regional documentary photography and multimedia. His work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Washington Post, and many other publications. Kane was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

Image © Shaul Schwarz

Narco Culture (2008-10) by Shaul Schwarz (NY) focuses on the explosive narco culture that has created a war zone within the Mexican border cities. This project focuses on not only the harsh existence in border towns, but also on the culture created for millions of Mexicans and Americans inevitably involved in or affected by the drug trade and a desire for “Narco Luxury.” The drug war represents an unstoppable cycle that has created a culture of addiction on both sides of the border — addiction to the vanity of money, drugs and violence.

Shaul Schwarz started his photographic career in the Israeli military and relocated to NY in 1999. He is a contract photographer for TIME magazine and is represented by Reportage/Getty Images. His work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Geo, Paris Match, Stern, El Pais, and Newsweek among others.

Read this related article on the “Narco Culture” in Mexico from NPR.

Erin McCarley (curator, Denver, CO) is a filmmaker, photographer and sociologist with a passion for social documentary.  McCarley’s videos and still photography have been published by the Christian Science Monitor, The MIT Press, the Ford Foundation, The Daily Texan, and others.  She has a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin. McCarley has documented human rights struggles in Central America, including along the US/Mexico border, created photo essays on social and environmental justice issues, and worked as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela.


Dana Romanoff   No Man’s Land  2008

Mike Kane Arizona Border Vigilantes 2003-04

Shaul Schwartz Narco Culture  2010


Local Press: “Borderlines: The War We Ignore”