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Cardona, Julián, 1960- | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Cardona, Julián, 1960-

Historical Note:

Born in 1960 in Zacatecas, Mexico, Julián Cardona migrated to the border city of Ciudad Juárez with his family as a small child. In 1993, Cardona started his photojournalism career at El Fronterizo and El Diario de Juárez. Working for El Diario, Cardona documented violence in Juárez from 1993 to 2012. In the 1990's, the city had several industrial parks and hundreds of maquiladoras (foreign owned manufacturing companies on the U.S.-Mexico border). Job opportunities lured between 50,000-70,000 citizens, paying $5-7 a shift. Population growth and the meager wages led to the growth of the drug market in the mid-1990s. Many victims of the drug violence were poor and worked in the maquilas. Cardona captures the experience and culture of working inside the maquilas and the individual lives affected by the industry.

Cardona's work as a photojournalist documented the period starting in 1995-96 when drugs become increasingly available, and violence levels in the city started to rise. In 1995, he photographed disappearing women as the economy boomed and homicides surged. In 1998, he started documenting the effects of globalization on the U.S.-Mexico border, the unsolved murders of women in Juárez, the social effects caused by low wages paid in border factories, the immigrant exodus, economic collapse, shantytown communities and slum conditions, violence, poverty, and the social upheaval he witnessed.

Cardona continued to document Juárez through the recessions of 2001 and 2008, which weakened the maquila economy, ultimately resulting in ~116,000 vacant houses across the city out of 416,000 stock units. Collaborating with journalist and author Charles Bowden, Cardona worked on the project resulting in the book Exodus/Éxodo, documenting the exodus of the city's inhabitants.

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