Skip navigation

Central America

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/ on line 33.
Original author: 
burn magazine

This SlideShowPro photo gallery requires the Flash Player plugin and a web browser with JavaScript enabled.

Hover over the image for navigation and full screen controls

Ruth Prieto

Safe Heaven

play this essay


This work is the second chapter of a documentary project about Mexican immigrant women in New York. Some of them have indigenous backgrounds so that Spanish is not their first language. I decided to document their lives during their free time at their homes.

Homes have deep emotional meaning. Through their homes we get to know them, their motivations, their thoughts and aspirations along with the conditions they live in that reveal how much they have achieved and struggled. They have painted and decorated their rooms according to their own personal story and choice. I am exploring the notion of safety and confidence in relation to space. This project is a new interpretation of immigration using color as a unifying metaphor of diversity and acceptance. Each woman will be identified with a color palette so that a mosaic of color represents diversity and the beauty of it.

With these images I want to present different moments in what could be one person’s story. My motivation for this project is to create a dialogue about migration and xenophobia to develop solutions to related social issues. Through these images I go beyond the public scenario offering a deeper knowledge of the living conditions of one of the major labor forces in the US.

Furthermore I want to communicate in a level that is common to all: the bittersweet journey of life in which moments of struggle and joy take place.

This project is an extraordinary window to the live of Mexican immigrant women where they can be masters of their own world, where they can control their time and their choices, where they have a safe heaven.



Ruth Prieto Arenas was born and raised in Mexico City. She studied Communications and worked as a juniour account executive in visual media. Later on she worked in the film industry as a production manager and script supervisor. She was an intern in the cultural research department at Magnum photos in New York in 2011.

Ruth graduated from the program in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in 2012.

She has published her work at Picnic, Ojo de Pez (to be published in summer 2013) and in the book New York Stories a collaboration between the International Center of Photography, and Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin.

I began this project with the curiosity to understand the process that Mexican migrants go through when crossing the border. Being Mexican myself, allowed me to form a bond with my subjects so that we could build a connection that translates into the intimacy of my images. I am focused on women because of their central role in the development of the Mexican family and because I look at them as icons of identity and culture. Moreover, I think it is important to create projects that motivate a dialogue about migration and xenophobia to develop solutions to current social related issues.

Currently I am still working on this project with the great support of the Magnum Foundation’s Emergency Fund.


Related links

Ruth Prieto


Your rating: None

TEDxPhoenixville - Kristin Pedemonti - Release Your Inner Superhero

Once upon a time, in 2005, Kristin embarked on a journey and a new adventure. She sold her home and most of her possessions to live her dream as a full-time professional storyteller and to create/fund/facilitate a volunteer project, Literacy Outreach Belize, Central America. What began with one school expanded beyond her wildest expectations. Kristin traveled village to village and donated literacy programs for 33340 students and trained 800 teachers to use their own indigenous stories in the classroom. Her book, Building Bridge Between; Connecting Cultures, Classrooms and Communities, a collection of student and teacher stories from the workshops she conducted, will be published next year. The project has been invited to expand to Ghana, Kenya and India in 2013 where she will volunteer training teachers and librarians. Today Kristin travels the world connecting cultures and building bridges between people sharing joy and hope through storytelling. Kristin is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network 2011 International StoryBridge Oracle Award for her work bridging cultures through story. Kristin is also a finalist in the TED2013 talent search. Kristin enjoys sharing stories, Free Hugs, Bubbles on Expressways, and helping others release their Inner Superheroes. TEDxPhoenixville, the first TEDx event in the Philadelphia region, celebrates the creative, innovative and inspiring work happening right here and all around the world. Our objective is <b>...</b>

More in
Nonprofits & Activism

Your rating: None