Skip navigation
Help

Geography of Texas

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.
Original author: 
Alfonso Serrano

When viewed from the Franklin Mountains in southern Texas, El Paso and Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez meld into one expansive metropolis. Call it a Texan trompe l’oeil. Look closely, though, and the illusion is disrupted by the Rio Grande, the natural border that snakes through the two cities, carving out very distinct realities.

That proximity is what first drew photographer Reed Young to El Paso, in particular to the city’s Chamizal neighborhood, which he refers to as a sort of “ground zero” for the national debate on immigration. Here, where North officially meets South, the terrain gives rise to something all its own: frontera culture, with its distinct food, music and identity.

“We thought it was important to hear from people who are affected by the United States’ immigration policy today,” says Young. “National debate doesn’t always take into account the complexities of the people’s situations.”

If Washington D.C. is the political epicenter of the immigration debate, then Chamizal is arguably its human face, a place where the nuances of a thoroughly complex issue crystallize into the tangible. Take Araceli, for example. She has not seen her extended family in Juárez since 2009, although they live a few miles away. Claudia, who is transgendered, is another case in point. She is Claudia on the U.S. side of the border but always crossed the border as Ricardo, the name on her ID, until the violence in Juárez convinced her to end the treks.

Ciudad Juárez is the second most murderous city in the world. In 2010 alone, it witnessed over 3,000 deaths. The historic violence has instilled migrants with a special urgency when attempting to cross into El Paso, the safest big city in the United States. On their journey, they will encounter the most tightly enforced border in modern history. The number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border — 20,000 — has doubled since 2004. And the $18 billion the federal government spent on enforcing the border last year was more than it spent on all other law enforcement agencies combined.

But that didn’t matter much to Araceli. She waded through the Rio Grande with her four children in search of a better life for them. Now she cleans houses and scraps metal after work to supplement her income. And it didn’t dissuade “Goldie,” who crossed into El Paso when she was 16 and now owns Goldie’s Bar, a cantina in El Paso’s industrial section that pays homage to her hero, Marilyn Monroe.

Goldie’s story — and those of virtually everyone profiled in Young’s photo essay—attest to the strength of family ties. In Chamizal, at least, the commitment to one’s family, to the improvement of children’s lives, has proved stronger than billion-dollar physical barriers.

Reed Young is a photographer based in New York City.

Alfonso Serrano is a senior editor at TIME.com.

0
Your rating: None
Original author: 
Patrick Traylor

Photographer Eric Thayer traveled to Brooks County, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico to investigate the rising rates of immigrant deaths along the border there, spending time at a migrant’s hostel in Mexico and with U.S. Border Patrol in Brooks County. In 2012, sheriff’s deputies in Brooks County found 129 bodies, around double the amount from the [...]

0
Your rating: None

Talk about a whirlwind day. Yesterday started out like any other for Dallas native Parrish Ruiz de Velasco. The 21-year-old freelance graphic designer and photographer was headed to work on a carpentry job in Ovilla, Texas, when he decided to ignore his GPS.

“As soon as I saw the swirling clouds, I knew it was going to be something cool. I went ahead and took the left turn instead of the right turn, just to chase it down and see if it turned into anything,” he says. “It ended up being a pretty big tornado that unfortunately messed up a lot of peoples’ homes.”

Ruiz de Velasco followed the storm for what he estimates to be about 15 miles, up I-35 toward Route 20, getting in front of the storm, before he did a u-turn. As always, he had his camera with him. He took a photo.

He didn’t end up making it to work. After submitting his picture to the Dallas Morning News via the paper’s website, the young photographer was called into the office, where he would spend the rest of the evening dealing with requests for the image. By the next day, the picture would have appeared on the front pages of 17 newspapers from the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post to papers in Montreal and Buenos Aires—and it will appear this coming week in TIME.

“They were pretty mad at me,” he says of his carpentry employers, to whom he had to make excuses on the day of the storm, “until this morning when they saw the newspaper.”

Ruiz de Velasco had never experienced a tornado before—and his home and family made it through yesterday unscathed—but he says he wasn’t scared, just excited, an excitement that persists even now that the weather in Texas is sunny and clear.

“It was pretty stupid. I had a lot of adrenaline going on,” he says. “It’s the crazy power of nature. I really wanted to capture that.”

Parrish Ruiz de Velasco is a Dallas-based photographer and designer. Check out his Facebook page here.

0
Your rating: None

With everyone heading to or already at SXSW this week and next, I thought this would be a good time to post about the location aware music apps that Bluebrain has been doing. They’ve already done one for The National Mall and Central Park ( Listen To The Light ), the new one The Violet Crown is based around Austin and SXSW. Basically it’s, as Bluebrain describes it, “a musical composition, available exclusively as a free iPhone app, that uses the phone’s built-in GPS to alter the music as the listener traverses the area – each street and intersection is tagged with various pockets of sound, turning the festival grounds into a musical ‘choose-your-own-adventure’.”

You can download the free app here through iTunes.

It’s a really cool concept and as of yet, I haven’t been able to try out the other versions from The National Mall or Central Park ( Listen To The Light ), The Violet Crown will be the first.

For those that can’t make it out to SXSW this year, I dug a little further to get some more of the background on The Violent Crown app and some process. Ryan Holladay of Bluebrain went over the technical info and he sent me a few screen grabs and a map from the programming end of things. He also did a breakdown of how it works, which I think is really interesting.

“What you are looking at in these shots is the app simulator running running on our desktop — this is a way that we can remotely test the music without having to be in Austin and simulate the experience of, say, walking from one block to another and hearing how the music changes. As you can see, there are many in a single area, often with so many overlapping that it’s difficult to tell visually where each of them are located. The crosshairs in the middle represent the location of the listener, the various circles indicate the size of the audio track and the colors the state the audio is in: Blue, as you probably guessed, is playing, while yellow is cued and red is disengaged.

Because, by design, the app basically has to be ready for whichever direction you move, what we have is a system that prepares the audio to be dropped in at any given point and at the correct interval by preloading audio in every direction within a certain proximity. So, for instance, if you were to begin walking from Frontage Rd towards Congress Ave, halfway up 4th Street it will have prepared the tracks waiting for you when you arrive at Red River Street. But, when you reach an intersection, the audio to your left and right is also waiting for in case you chose that direction. Once it’s realized you’ve moved on, it drops those tracks to save processing power until you turn around and re-approach.”

To see what it’s all about check out the Making Of video below, which gives you a detailed explanation of what it does and how they actually built the one for Central Park ( Listen To The Light ).

Permalink |
Comment On This Post |
Tweet This Post | Add to
del.icio.us | Stumbleupon

Post tags:

0
Your rating: None

Wildfires have blazed across Texas for several days, but the drought conditions that fed the flames have been building for many months. The ten-month period through July was the driest in Texas state history. Entire lakes have dried up. Since last November, almost 1,500 homes have burned in nearly 21,000 fires across the state. Two deaths so far have been attributed to the fires, which have forced the evacuations of thousands of residents. The Texas drought and wildfires come on the heels of the Arizona wildfire, the largest in that state's history. -- Lane Turner (45 photos total)
Two firefighters break from battling a wildfire off Foster School Road near Needville, Texas on September 7, 2011. (Patric Schneider/The Courier/AP)

Add to Facebook
Add to Twitter
Add to digg
Add to StumbleUpon
Add to Reddit
Add to del.icio.us
Email this Article

0
Your rating: None

Tropical Storm Lee passed near Texas over the weekend, bringing its strong winds to the state, but none of its much-needed rain. The strong gusts fanned some 60 separate wildfires across the drought-stricken region, destroying more than 1,000 homes, forcing more than 5,000 people to evacuate, and killing at least two people. Especially hard-hit has been Bastrop County, about 25 miles from the city of Austin, where a 30,000 acre fire still burns uncontained. Collected here are some of the scenes from around Texas, where residents continue to struggle with a long drought and wildfires that have burned 3.6 million acres since November 2010. See earlier entry Texas Wildfires, from April, 2011. [39 photos]

Flames engulf a road near Bastrop State Park as a wildfire burns out of control near Bastrop, Texas, on September 5, 2011. (Reuters/Mike Stone)

0
Your rating: None

Girls

Any videos on the internet with the words “girls” and “vomit” in the title are almost certainly not suitable to post up here. An exception to the rule though, is Austin Rhodes’ latest foray behind the lens for the San Francisco band Girls’ latest music video – a supremely cool car mooching through a supremely cool city. Enough said.

www.myspace.com/girls

0
Your rating: None