Carlos Álvarez Montero is one of our favourite Mexican photographers. When he is not working on his documentary projects (which feature all kinds of characters, from Enrique Metinides to Diane Pernet), he likes to photograph those Mexicans of New York who, instead of fixing low riders, spent their time pimping out their bikes and scheduling pilgrimages to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
For his "M for Michoacán" project however, Carlos did the exact opposite and travelled to the town of Jacona, Michoacán to photograph former expatriates who have recently returned to Mexico. I called him up to find out a little more about the project.
VICE: When did you start working on M for Michoacán?
Carlos Álvarez Montero: I started in 2006 and kept shooting until the summer of 2009.
How did go about finding your subjects?
It all started as a pitch for a report for a New York magazine that has now closed. The idea was to write an article on Mexican gangsters. At the time, my friend Billie lived in Zamora, Michoacán and told me about the many cholos of Jacona. A couple of days later I was there. By the time I finished working on the story, the magazine’s photo editor had left and so the pictures were never published. But, I thought I'd keep on working on it, so went back and started making a documentary with Pedro Jiménez Gurría.
Have you seen any of the guys since you finished the shoot?
I keep in touch with them by phone, and I’m thinking of going back soon – as soon as it’s safe to go.
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