Migration is one of the central issues of our time, affecting every populated continent. David W. Lynch, a documentary photographer since 1992, has traveled three times to Mexico since late 2018 to photograph “The Caravans”—thousands of people from Central America who have walked away from their homes, some desperately seeking asylum and safety in the U.S., others searching for economic opportunity. Together they march toward an uncertain future.
Lynch’s photographs, arresting and breathtaking in their utter humanity, reject the idea that there is a monolithic story about “The Caravans,” or the issue of migration as a single subject. Lynch has created a powerful body of work that offers a glimpse into the migrants’ individual stories as humans.
The project is far from complete. Lynch aims to return for a fourth time to the U.S.-Mexico border to document those touched by migration on both sides. Describing his project’s evolution, Lynch says he also hopes to capture, “the faces of hard-working people in government agencies, who for the most part are doing their best in difficult circumstances, sometimes under withering public criticism, and staff members at non-profits working to aid people in situations of extreme hardship. And of course…the faces of the asylum seekers who will successfully navigate the system, and of those who will be classed as economic migrants, and be turned away.”
He hopes his work will draw attention to the root causes of why people undertake arduous journeys to countries that have neither invited nor welcomed them. Lynch also plans future trips to photograph some of the larger European refugee camps.
On May 2, Lynch’s photography book will launch, titled Before the Border: the Caravan Series, A Work in Progress from the Migration Project (978-1-63398-104-1, $30.00). Part of the proceeds will help fund the completion of Lynch’s project to document migration, whether the story is at the U.S.-Mexico border or on the shores of Europe.
Lynch will host a photography exhibit and publication party for Before the Border at Snapdragon on Vashon Island on May 23 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Select photographs from the series will be on display.
Find Lynch's book on the Chatwin website: http://www.chatwinbooks.com/shop/before-the-border-by-david-lynch.