In the summer of 2010, Saul Flores embarked on a journey across 10 countries to bring awareness to Latin American issues. The project is called the Walk of the Immigrants, and now Saul is starting a national traveling exhibit that teaches cultural empathy from the images he captured along the way. Sault's project is all about promoting education, empathy, and humanity, all through photographs. Saul has earned national acclaim for the project and has been featured on NPR, TED, and several other press publications. Learn more about Saul's project and what he learned along the way.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with this project.
This project began with my mother and her decision to come to the United States. She immigrated into this country so that I could have access to stronger educational opportunities. Once I went back to Atencingo, Mexico, the community from which she immigrated from, I learned how lucky I was to have access to these resources. As tension rose for our immigrant communities, I decided to use my talents and skills to pass along the gift of education while easing tensions here in the United States through an image narrative.
In the summer of 2010, I began a walk across 10 Latin America countries to bring awareness to the socio-cultural issues of Central America. I walked, hitchiked, and rode canoes, across Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. It was a walk that lasted a total of 5,328 miles, over the course of three months.
Throughout my journey, I captured the cultural values, the struggles, and most prominent issues of these countries through images. It is the story of Latin America, and the people of Latin America, and then creating a window to share that with the other cultures of the world. The Walk of the Immigrants was meant to act as an image narrative that teaches empathy, and reminds our cultures of the commonalities that we have as a people. It was my hope to create a new bridge, one not dependent on mainstream media, to connect people with people.
One of the primary goals for my trip was to rebuild a school in my mother's native community with the revenue I obtained from the images I sold from the project. In short, I was trying to take photographs that induce social change in the US and in Latin America. I was trying to bring education to Atencingo, Mexico.
What gear are you using for this project?
At the time I was a young photographer beginning to explore the power of images. I needed something light for travel and inexpensive in case the worse happened. I ended up traveling with a Nikon D80 with just one 50mm prime lens and a lowepro bag.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of the project thus far?
It's exciting to say that this project worked. My images traveled, virtually, to people all over the United States. I was able to spark conversation and dialogue between strangers, families, and friends. Thankfully, my images helped people understand people.
How has this project changed your photography overall?
This project taught me the power of using images as windows between people. I learned the impact that it could have between our cultures, and the strength images can have to teach empathy. I learned about people and how images tell the stories of people.