As a special correspondent for Getty Images, I have spent much of the last decade photographing issues of undocumented immigration to the United States from Central America and Mexico. I’ve taken a broad approach, focusing on asylum seekers fleeing violence, migrants searching for economic opportunity, and the federal government’s response to pursue, detain, and deport them. Throughout, I have tried to humanize this story.
I have built and maintained relationships with non-profit immigration rights organizations, public affairs officers at federal border agencies, and individual members of the undocumented community. Through those relationships, as well as from contacts made during the years I lived in Latin America, I was able to gain access to the people and places you see in these photographs.
I’ve driven, flown over and floated down the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, which winds along the Rio Grande in Texas, rises up and over mountains, crosses deserts, and stretches into the Pacific approximately 2,000 miles from where it started. Using a portable studio that I carried with me on my journey, I made portraits of immigrants, gang members, Border Patrol agents and inmates imprisoned in detention centers within the United States.
Getty Images and PowerHouse Books published Undocumented: Immigration and Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border in March 2018, at the project’s ten-year mark. In June, I returned to the border to document immigrant crossings under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The pictures I made on that trip of a young girl crying at the border have been seen, according to one estimate, by nearly half the world’s population. The photos were published by most major news outlets and one image appeared as part of an illustration on the cover of TIME magazine’s July 2 issue. The use of that image has been widely debated.
The U.S. government continues to remake immigration policy, and millions of undocumented families in America live in fear. Their story is far from over.
John Moore is a senior staff photographer and special correspondent for Getty Images. In April 2019 he was honored with the World Press Photo of the Year in Amsterdam for his iconic image Crying Girl on the Border.
Moore joined Getty Images in 2005, after more than a dozen years photographing internationally for the Associated Press. He has worked in 65 countries on six continents, and was posted internationally for 17 years: first to Nicaragua, then India, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt, and Pakistan. After returning to live in the United States, he began a decade-long project on immigration and border security issues.
In 2018, powerHouse Books published his book Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the United States-Mexico Border. His comprehensive and nuanced approach, puts a human face on all sides of one of the most hotly-debated topics in America today.
Moore has won top awards throughout his career, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, six World Press Photo honors, the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club, Photographer of the Year from Pictures of the Year International (POYi), the NPPA, and Sony World Photography Organization.
Moore is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Radio-Television-Film. He lives with his family in Stamford, Connecticut.
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
Getty Images is the most trusted source of visual content in the world, with over 300 million assets including photos, videos, and music, available through its websites. Founded in 1995, Getty Images serves media, business and creative customers in almost 200 countries and is the first place people turn to discover, purchase and share powerful visual content from the world’s best photographers and videographers. Getty Images works with over 240,000 contributors and hundreds of image partners to provide comprehensive coverage of more than 160,000 news, sport and entertainment events, impactful creative imagery to communicate any commercial concept and the world’s deepest digital archive of historic photography.
Featuring: John Moore
Curated by: Sandy Ciric
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