Joseph Sorrentino Photography
Click to view more images from this portfolio Central American Migration, 2015

I spent seven weeks in Mexico between January and March, 2015. For much of that time, I was in shelters for Central American migrants. Almost half a million migrants pass through Mexico yearly, almost all of them hoping to make it to he U.S. Most come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and are fleeing extreme violence and poverty. In the past, they rode the cargo trains collectively known as La Bestia but now are largely prevented from climbing on the train by Mexican Immigration and police, as well as gangs. For more about their journeys, go to: :

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17916/how-the-u.s.-solved-the-central-american-migrant-crisis

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17834/caravan-of-the-mutilated

This portfolio contains images from the following shelters: La Sagrada Familia, Las Patronas and Hermanos en el Camino.

Click to view more images from this portfolio Meet The People Who Pick Your Chiles

I spent about two weeks in the Sin Fronteras Organizing Project shelter in El Paso, Texas.  About 100 workers stay there during the chile harvest.  Green chile, said Carlos Marentes, the Sin Fronteras founder and co-director,  is "New Mexico's sacred cow."  In fact, a recent USA Today/10Best poll named green chile the #1 iconic American food.  Although chile production is a multi-million dollar operation, workers usually don't even earn minimum wage.  They're paid a piece rate of 65¢ to 80¢ a bucket.  Each bucket weighs 20lbs. The fastest pickers can pick about 100 in a 6 hour day but many workers will earn only $25 to $30 a day.  They stay in the shelter because they can't afford rent. As one worker put it, "If you have an apartment, you're not gonna be able to eat."  Workers at the shelter, and in El Paso and even Juarez, get up around 1am to wait for a couple of hours on El Paso Street for the labor contractors to show up.  If there's no work, they just wait around El Paso, hoping to pick up some kind of work.

Click to view more images from this portfolio Farmworkers in Western New York

These are photos I've taken while documenting the lives of farmworkers in western NY.  This project began in 2002.  This year I've been primarily interested in what it's like for Mexican women working on farms here.

 

Click to view more images from this portfolio Pajarito Mesa, New Mexico, 2013

Pajarito Mesa is a community located about 20 minutes from downtown Albuquerque.  Residents have no paved roads, no electricity or running water.  People probably started moving onto Pajarito about 20 years ago.  Land sales have been suspect, at best, and development--what little there is--is haphazard.  About two years ago, after several years of trying, a pumping station was installed and most residents now buy their water there.  Still, some have to drive 5 or more miles to get to it.  In spite of the difficulties, most people are happy to be there, mostly because they can't afford to live anywhere else.

 

 

 

Click to view more images from this portfolio Las Patronas, 2012

After my stay at Hermanos en el Camino, I spent a week with Las Patronas, a group of women in the village of La Patrona, Veracruz, who hand out food and water to Central American migrants as they ride by on the train.  Migrants may travel for days without food or water.  Las Patronas are all volunteers and spend up to 12 hours a day--every day--preparing and handing out food and water.  It was an honor to spend a week with them. 

Click to view more images from this portfolio Amaquil, Chiapas and Hueyapan, Puebla 2012

I spent a few days in Hueyapan, a small village in Puebla that's known for it's weaving.  And I was able to return to Amaquil, Chiapas, a coffee-growing village I visited in 2010.  I got a few more shots of coffee production and was able to attend a church service.

 

Click to view more images from this portfolio Benito Juarez, Chiapas, 2012

Benito Juarez is a small settlement in the Zapatista Autonomous region of Chiapas.  It's pretty remote--it was a four hour ride in a pickup truck and a four hour muddy walk from Las Margaritas.  There's no electricity and people are all subsistence farmers.  The only cash crops are coffee and cacao and those generate only about $500 to $600/year for a family. 

Click to view more images from this portfolio El Campo: Chiapas, 2010

I spent five days with Nicolás, Catalina and their family in Amaquil, a ranchería about an hour and a half ride from San Cristóbal, Chiapas.  A ranchería is often referred to as a "community"; really more a collection of widely spaced houses than a village.  Campesinos here are of Mayan descent and speak Tzeltal.  The main cash crop is coffee and campesinos belong to a fair trade co-op called Kulaktik.

 

Click to view more images from this portfolio El Campo: Morelos, 2008

Morelos was the first state I visited during this project.  I was in San Augustin, a tiny village and Tlalquiltenango, a medium-sized city.  I photographed people working in nopal (an edible cactus), jicama and sugar cane. 

Click to view more images from this portfolio El Campo: Puebla, 2008

I spent a week in Cuetzalan, a lovely village in the mountains of Puebla.  Tosepan Titataniske (a Nahuatl phrase meaning "Together We Will Overcome") is a Fair Trade Cooperative there, selling coffee, honey and black pepper among other things.  They also have an ecotourist site called Tosepankali, which is just outside of the village. Tosepan does a lot of great things in the area; in addition to promoting Fair Trade, they have a bank which offers low interest loans to campesinos, they promote sustainable living and women's rights.

 

Click to view more images from this portfolio Mexico Color-1

Mexico is such a beautiful country that you just have to shoot color once in awhile.

Click to view more images from this portfolio Mexico Color-2

These are shots from my most recent trip to Mexico, which was March-April, 2010.