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Photos of the Border Between America and Mexico, as Documented by Richard Misrach Since 2004

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Wall, near Brownsville, Texas in 2013 (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Wall, near Brownsville, Texas in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

 

President Trump’s executive order to a build a wall along America’s two-thousand-mile-long border with Mexico has transformed the desert swath into a hot-button political issue. But, along parts of the border, a wall has already been built and it has been documented extensively by one photographer for more than a decade.

Richard Misrach, known for his “Cancer Alley” photo essay, has been photographing the southern border of the United States since 2004. Devoid of all human life, his images capture only the evidence of migration at the border in the form water bottles, clothing, backpacks, U.S. Border Patrol “drag tires,” spent shotgun shells, ladders, and sections of the border wall itself. Misrach’s work portrays the demarcation line between two countries as a stage, waiting for actors—migrants, coyotes, border patrol—to play their part. See his work below.

Wall, east of Nogales, Arizona in 2015. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Wall, east of Nogales, Arizona in 2015. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Tire drags used along the border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, photographed between 2013-15. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Tire drags used along the border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, photographed between 2013-15. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Border Patrol target range along Boca Chica Highway, near Gulf of Mexico, Texas in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Border Patrol target range along Boca Chica Highway, near Gulf of Mexico, Texas in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Surveillance blimp, Marfa, Texas in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Surveillance blimp, Marfa, Texas in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Home using border fence as a fourth wall in Colonia Libertad, Tijuana, Mexico in 2014. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Home using border fence as a fourth wall in Colonia Libertad, Tijuana, Mexico in 2014. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Agua #10, near Calexico, California in 2014. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Agua #10, near Calexico, California in 2014. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
F--k U.S.A., Nogales, Arizona in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
F–k U.S.A., Nogales, Arizona in 2013. (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Cover (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)
Cover (Richard Misrach, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, and Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

 

Misrach is releasing his photos on and around the border, some shot with a large format camera and others with his iPhone, in a new book. Border Cantos, published by Aperture Foundation, is a joint collaboration between the photographer and Guillermo Galindo, an experimental composer. Galindo created two dozen scores inspired by Misrach’s photographs and using the migration artifacts documented in Border Cantos. The book is available now for $75. Click here to order a copy.

RealClearLife Staff