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Postcards From America: Dispatch From the Road

Halfway through their Postcards From America road trip Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Paolo Pellegrin, Susan Meiselas, Mikhael Subotsky and Ginger Strand sent LightBox a dispatch from one stop along the route, Del Rio.

Five photographers, a writer, two weeks and a bus. Now over halfway through their Postcards From America road trip, Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg, Paolo Pellegrin, Susan Meiselas, Mikhael Subotsky and Ginger Strand sent LightBox a dispatch from the road. Here are their “postcards” from one stop along the route, Del Rio.

Del Rio is our first border stop. Everything here is changing, and nothing is what the national conversation leads you to believe. Just on the other side of the fence, for instance, there’s no parched and desperate no-man’s land but a lushly verdant utopia, a marshy haven for birds and grasses. When the Border Patrol stops us, they’re not suspicious but chatty. They seem bored. We ask Pancho, of Border Taxi, what people think of the fence. “They think the government wastes its money,” he says. He laughs, his dark eyes soft, but knowing. His business has changed. No more tourists or soldiers looking for fun: Mexico means danger now. His passengers are usually Mexicans headed for the bus station or Americans seeking affordable medical care, cheap prescription drugs. He takes them; he brings them back. Thirty years ago, when his kids were little, he fought segregation in the schools and won. That division is still here, he tells us, but it’s subtle, complex. Like the border.

“Don’t lose your Spanish!” Susan tells Ralph, Pancho’s grandson. Ralph smiles but his eyes slide to the side. He likes dogs, soccer, his brother’s cell phone. One more generation, and things here will have changed again.

—Ginger Strand

The Postcards From America journey will end with a pop up show opening on Thursday, May 26, at The Starline Social Club, Oakland. A signed, limited edition book—with a five postcard set—will be published after the trip.

To read the original LightBox post on the Postcards From America Project click here.

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