CPNAS - Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences
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David Harriman: Mariposa

August 1, 2017 - January 31, 2018

Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W.

Viewable on Fridays by appointment only. Email cpnas@nas.edu at least 48 hrs in advance to make an appointment.

Photographer David Harriman’s Mariposa series stems from La Linea, his 10-year project to document the landscape of the border between the US and Mexico. While photographing the landscape, he frequently encountered immigrants making the journey north, many of whom faced apprehension and deportation. He realized that he could not document the landscape without including the human aspect.

Since 2008, Harriman has made portraits of immigrants recently deported at the Mariposa port of entry in Nogales, Mexico. He writes, “The irony of the name of the crossing Mariposa (butterfly in Spanish) seemed to perfectly evoke the plight of those wishing to cross and seek a life elsewhere, only to be returned.” In his makeshift studio on a patch of scrubland at the border, Harriman has captured images of more than one hundred immigrants—some of whom had crossed the border only hours earlier and others who had lived, undocumented, in the United States for several years. Ultimately, he says, “it’s all about hope, but their hope’s just run out at that point.”

Harriman is a British photographer whose work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London. He has had a lifelong fascination with the landscapes and cultural diversity of the United States. His other projects include Truth & Kitty, a series about a homeless couple in Las Vegas; Meadows Edge, a series about life on the periphery of Las Vegas; Red State, a look at the changing political map of the United States; and Rust Belt, a series about the declining industrial heartland of the United States.

David Harriman's website.

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