David Bacon has been a documentary photographer for three decades. He photographs the lives of indigenous communities in Mexico, Central America and the Philippines. He began this work as a result of earlier decades spent as a union organizer among farmworkers and immigrant workers on the Pacific Coast. That experience led to a commitment to using photography to show the reality of indigenous communities and the need to protect their human rights.
Bacon’s photography has concentrated on expressions of indigenous culture. This culture is often expressed in the dances of the home communities of indigenous migrants, and in the performances within those communities as they migrate. This work is a cooperative effort between Bacon and community organizations advocating for migrant rights.
The photographs in this series were taken in Mexico, Guatemala and California. They show the dances of the Venado/Pascola in Rancho Camargo and Trincheras, Sonora, Mexico, the Fiesta de la Asuncion in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala, and the Guelaguetza in Fresno, California.
Bacon explains: I take these photographs, not as an act of impersonal documentation, but as a way of using photography to show the beauty of people’s culture – how community members participate as performers and onlookers. In creating the images I become a participant myself.
Bacon’s work has been exhibited at museums and universities in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. The Special Collections of the Green Library at Stanford University houses his photographic archive. His photographs have been published widely, and his books of photographs include Communities Without Borders and In the Fields of the North/En los campos del norte.