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Destino tells the story of Central American migrants on the arduous trek across Mexico in pursuit of the American Dream.
Destino tells the story of Central American migrants on the arduous trek across Mexico in pursuit of the American Dream.
211 backers pledged $20,491 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Seeking to Shape Their Own Destiny

Destino, meaning “destination” or “destiny” in Spanish, tells the story of undocumented Central American migrants and the perilous journey by freight train across Mexico, as they attempt to enter the United States in pursuit of a better life.

In Destino I seek to capture the experience of people who struggle to control their own destiny when confronted by extreme circumstances. Destino is both a social commentary on one of the biggest global issues of our times and an epic adventure tale. It conveys the experience of a generation of exiles, driven by poverty and the dysfunction of failed states, traveling across a landscape that has become increasingly dangerous, heading towards a precarious future as a last resort.

A Salvadoran migrant feeds her infant son at Casa de la Misericordia migrant shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas.  Arriaga is one point of origin for the network of northbound freight trains that migrants use as a way of reaching the United States border (2010).
A Salvadoran migrant feeds her infant son at Casa de la Misericordia migrant shelter in Arriaga, Chiapas. Arriaga is one point of origin for the network of northbound freight trains that migrants use as a way of reaching the United States border (2010).

Driven by Destiny

The unprecedented wave of Central American migration began a full century after Mexican immigration to the US, the consequence of bloody civil wars, US cold war intervention and crippling international trade policies. Such conflicts left a legacy of drug and gang related violence, rampant domestic abuse, and unrelenting poverty. Despite an economic downturn, anti-immigrant sentiment, and a stalled immigration reform bill, Central American migration is on the rise. Destino addresses the root causes behind this wave of human migration. 

Weary and injured migrants rest in the makeshift chapel of the Hermanos en El Camino migrant shelter in the town of Ixtepéc, Oaxaca (2009).
Weary and injured migrants rest in the makeshift chapel of the Hermanos en El Camino migrant shelter in the town of Ixtepéc, Oaxaca (2009).

A Human Response

Lacking representation, undocumented immigrants make convenient scapegoats during a period of economic uncertainty. My aim in Destino is to take the viewer beyond what is expected and humanize the real-life individuals behind the polarizing political debate, to draw attention to the underlying causes behind this migration. I want the viewer to see and feel the humanity of these people who seek no more than the security and prosperity that they imagine we live with in the United States.

Salvadoran migrant, Hermanos en El Camino migrant shelter, Ixtepéc, Oaxaca. 2009
Salvadoran migrant, Hermanos en El Camino migrant shelter, Ixtepéc, Oaxaca. 2009

The Book

Destino will be published in a hard cover edition of 500, in a square format, 9.5" x 9.5" with 80 black and white images and an introductory text.The book will be printed using a four color process on a Heildelberg press at Ofset Yapimavi in Istanbul.

The work was created with a medium format Bronica 6x6 camera and black & white film.

Please join me and FotoEvidence in publishing Destino. Your backing will produce a beautiful and powerful photo book that documents the struggles of Central American migrants on a journey in search of their destiny.

Destino in the Press

NPR, The Picture Show

Politico Magazine 

Burn Magazine 

The Image, Deconstructed

Feature Shoot

daylightbooks.org

Risks and challenges

If we raise the money to publish "Destino" we don't anticipate major challenges. Michelle is a working photographer who routinely works with deadlines and delivers. She already has in hand the powerful body of work we plan to publish. FotoEvidence has published several high-quality photo books without any problems. We have a team that has always delivered on time and within budget. We expect to meet our commitments to backers without difficulty.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A personal Destino thank you post card from Michelle and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A 7" x 7" digital print from Destino and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    32 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A 10" x 10" digital print from Destino and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    11 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A signed copy of Destino and inclusion in the work as a backer.

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    88 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Two (2) signed copies of Destino, a signed 7" x 7" digital print from the book and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    12 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Three (3) signed copies of Destino, a signed 9.5" x 9.5" archival, digital print from an edition of 25 and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Five (5) signed copies of Destino, a signed 15" x15" archival digital print from an edition of 8 and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Ten (10) signed copies of Destino, a signed 15" x 15" archival digital print from an edition of 8 and inclusion in the book as a backer.

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (31 days)