Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography 2011 Grantee Scott Dalton So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juárez

Project Summary: So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juárez is a documentary photo project that explores daily life in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, a city in the midst of a vicious cartel drug war. Averaging over 3,000 murders a year, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, has become one of the most dangerous cities on earth. Combining environmental portraits and documentary reportage, I hope to document this tragic and historic time in the life of this city, when cartel violence forges an uncertain new reality.

Juror's Statement

Scott Dalton's images reveal the hard edges of conflict while also illuminating the eloquent textures of ordinary life. Dalton's images suggest the sense of loss that relentless violence so firmly delivers.

And his series raises unnerving questions about the uncertain and precarious future. He does all this without sensationalism or stereotypes--his is a fresh, original, and probing engagement with individuals and the social landscape rendered with a transformative radiance. In the end, Dalton's work suggests how tenuous the relationship is between place and life, between the culture of the border environment and individual survival. I find as much hope here as despair. The Michael P. Smith grant should provide the necessary catalyst and support for furthering this project and bringing the painful beauty and relevance of the work to a broader public.

Tom Rankin
Director, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Congratulations to all of the Finalists in the 2011 Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography

Dalton's Project Proposal

All images © Scott Dalton