The World Photography Organisation and Sony Latin America are proud to present the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in this year’s Latin America Professional Award. Chosen from the 10 shortlisted series (which we announced earlier this year), we are delighted to reveal Alejandra Aragon from Mexico is awarded first place for her series I Came To La Pinta Because They Told Me My Father Lived Here. Alejandra wins Sony digital imaging equipment and exposure through a dedicated exhibition. Her images are also on show at the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 exhibition, currently on show at Somerset House. Buy tickets here.
Inspired by the emblematic novel by Pedro Páramo (the series title is also the book’s opening sentence), speaking about her work Aragon says: ‘Like the protagonist in that story, I too began a journey between Mexico and the United States to find my biological father. In the process, I discovered how the wounds of my family are linked to the demands of hegemonic masculinity and the displacements of the agricultural towns from northern Mexico. I returned to the hometowns my family came from to find them being disputed by organised crime and the government’s neoliberal agenda. Both the state and father figure broke their promises, and there is no motherland to return to from exile.’
In her own words, Alejandra takes us through selected images from her winning series.
Journey south of the border. The state omitted its role, as did the fathers of blood. My great grandfather on my grandfather’s side scratched from the picture, was a musician who played jazz along the Sierra Madre. This is how he had many children from women other than his wife. She ended up raising a few of them. He was a beneficiary of the ‘bracero program’ which allowed agricultural workers into the USA.
Mothers in an act of resilience and destruction burned the stubble. My grandmother and my mother struggled to give up their ideals on marriage and the men who promised to provide for their children. Both were stigmatised by their extended family for being single mothers.
“I long for the days when I walked between the fields, combing the saw with my long gun, kicking up dust, taking care of my land. I long for a band that welcomes me, for a hug that heals my wounds.” – Lyrics from a popular corrido song, Javier de los Llanos.
This is my biological father. I found him in his natal town, La Pinta. I met him for the first time in my life. His wife got mad when she saw me – I am the second of five children he had outside his marriage. He is a welder and works with horses, struggling to make a living against the violence that dominates his hometown.
Ruins of the National Company of Popular Subsistence (CONASUPO), a Mexican parastatal company that was dedicated to actions related to the supply system and food security. It was created in 1961 to guarantee the purchase and regulation of prices in products particularly corn in rural areas.
Jesús Arvizu from Mexico was awarded second place for his high-octane series For the Glory and the Pain and Angela Ponce from Peru received the third prize for her project There Will Only be Black Mountains, where she documents the mining boom taking place in the provinces of Puno, Ayacucho and Cusco in the Andes, and how it is affecting the local communities.