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News Link • Mexico

Meet the Ragtag Vigilantes at War With Mexico’s Cartels

•, By Pete Brook
Then you see the semi-automatic weapons and the ballcaps and realize McDonnell’s retro images depict men on the front lines of Mexico’s most fraught contemporary struggles.

An ambrotype is a photograph created on a glass plate that has been coated and sensitized in a chemical bath. Once exposed, the image is fixed, washed and developed. When the glass plate negative is turned around and placed against a black background, a positive image results.

McDonnell used the technique to great effect in Vigilantes, a series documenting Mexico’s Auto Defensa—bands of vigilantes who protect communities against the violence of the cartels. In some communities, they have all but replaced the ineffective policing of federal forces.


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