Mexican photojournalist Sofía Muñoz Boullosa collided with the impetus for a myth-shattering project from the moment she arrived in New York City in 2015, the same year Donald Trump entered the presidential race.
“When I came to New York, the subject of Trump and migration was all over the media,” she told The Huffington Post. “He had just expressed his beliefs that Mexicans bring drugs into the United States and are rapists. From the first day I was here I knew that I wanted to work on a project which challenged these declarations and these sentiments and provide an alternative image of Mexicans who come to the United States looking for a better life.”
After snapping a photograph of the Rosalindo Grocery Store in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, she caught the attention of store owner Pedro Cruz. Upon his request, Boullosa took a photo of the man who she quickly learned was from Mexico. It was then that her “Pedro” series took form. “When I returned home an idea occurred to me: to look for more ‘Pedros’ to demonstrate the variety, complexity and the human stories linked to migration.”
Throughout her endeavor, Boullosa met men like Pedro Ceñal Murga, 28, a Columbia University graduate student pursuing a masters in Theory of Investigation in Architecture and Pedro Rodrigo González, 24, a ballet dancer, personal stylist and fashion blogger who hopes to champion the arts in the Mexican community through his work. She says the stories featured in her series reflect those of “any of us” in spite of name and origin country.
“Unlike [Trump], I wanted to challenge his statements from a rhetoric that does not come from hatred, but from understanding,” she added, recognizing the power of her series to invoke sensitivity towards immigration by removing the cloud of political turmoil that often guides the conversation.
“Every single person that has migrated has a different story, and everyone should have the right to tell it. It should not be used as a political weapon because it is a human right that belongs to all of us. I learned that migration is a natural process: butterflies migrate, humans also do. The causes are different, but in the end finding a better place to live is natural.”
Check out Boullosa’s full “Pedro” series here.