The Most Valuable Possessions and Thoughts of Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central, and South America” takes relevance in the context of migration at the northern border with Mexico, which has been a significant issue in recent years.
The northern border with Mexico has seen a surge in asylum seekers from various countries in Central and South America, fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution. Many of these individuals embark on perilous journeys in search of safety and a better life in the United States. Tijuana, being a major border city, has become a critical transit point for these asylum seekers, where they often find themselves waiting for their asylum processes to be heard.
The portrait series delves into the experiences of these asylum seekers. Through interviews and pictures, the photographer aims to shed light on the valuable objects and personal sentiments that accompany these individuals on their challenging journey.
Family photos, often treasured and carefully protected, serve as a tangible connection to their loved ones left behind. These images encapsulate the memories of happier times, providing a source of strength and hope during the uncertainty of migration. Religious symbols and Saints hold deep spiritual significance, providing comfort and solace in times of difficulty.
Asylum seekers’ stories often revolve around their hopes and dreams for a better future in the United States. Each object they carry symbolizes a piece of their identity, culture, and history, reminding them of the resilience and determination that fuels their pursuit of safety and security.
By highlighting the Most Valuable Possessions and Thoughts of Asylum Seekers from Mexico, Central, and South America, this project aims to bridge the gap between “us” and “them,” fostering understanding and compassion for those seeking a new beginning in the face of adversity.
In conclusion, the portrait series not only showcases the objects but also serves as a powerful testament to the human spirit and the universal desire for a better life. As the world grapples with the complexities of migration, this project invites us to reflect on the shared humanity that binds us all, emphasizing the importance of empathy and support for those in search of safety and a brighter future.
Emilio Espejel is a Mexican photojournalist currently based in Asia, with a strong focus on migration, human rights, portraiture, security, and travel journalism.
His work has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, Associated Press, National Geographic, El País, and others.
To embark on a visual journey into Emilio’s world and experience his remarkable photography, you can explore his Instagram profile.