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Guide to the Julián Cardona Collection, 1993-2012
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Genre/Form of Material:
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Julián Cardona Collection
    Dates: 1993-2012
    Identification: TBC/JCA
    Creator: Cardona, Julián, 1960-
    Physical Description: 15.80 linear feet
    Language of Materials:


    Spanish; Castilian
    Repository: Special Collections
    Abstract: Photographer Julián Cardona has reported and documented on the conditions of Ciudad Juárez since 1993 when he started his career at El Diario de Juárez. Between 2009-2013 he was a reporter for Reuters News Agency. His work has appeared in numerous exhibitions and been featured in many publications. He has collaborated with journalist and author Charles Bowden to produced the book Exodus/Èxodo (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2008). Cardona's work documents violence in the border region, the effects of globalization, and the changing landscape of the Mariscal District. The collection includes images from 2008 when the level of homicides reached its climax to the end of the year 2012.

    Biographical Information:

    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.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Photographic material

    Administrative Information



    Processing Information:

    Lucy Hernandez, 2013

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    This collection is open for research use.

    Electronic Format:

    Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available electronically as a part of the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center Photographs  project. For more information please see http://digital-library.csun.edu/.  

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Film, 2000-2005
    Series II: Slides, 1993-2003
    Series III: Digital Images, 2007-2012
    Series IV: Prints, 1993-2005

    Scope and Contents

    The Julián Cardona Collection documents the violence in the U.S./Mexico border cities and the economic violence that has engulfed the region. Cardona’s work is internationally recognized, documenting transnational economic violence in Mexico, the resulting exodus of Mexican communities, and the emergence of the new Americans in the United States. The main focus of the collection is on Ciudad Juárez between 1993-2012. Other regions include the Juárez Valley, Agua Prieta, Altar, Anapra, Bisbee and other border cities. The collection has been divided into four major series: Film (2000-2005), Slides (1993-2003), Digital Images (2007-2012), and Prints (1993-2005.) The black and white film collection is particularly strong in documenting the lives of immigrants throughout various U.S. cities. Recent events include Hurricane Katrina and the immigration reform marches in Los Angeles. The collection also contains images of Don Henry Ford and his hideouts. Color slides depicted laborers and work conditions inside the maquiladoras. Additional black and white slides document the homicides, missing and murdered girls. The group Voces sin Eco (Voices Without Echo) and their activities are documented.  The digital image collection focuses of daily life in Juárez, the effects of globalization, the abandoned buildings, militarization and new culture that has developed. Cardona documents crime scenes and investigations reported in news media. The print collection is derived from the negatives present in the three series mentioned above.
    Series I, Film (2000-2005), consists of 35mm black and white film, with a few 120mm, 4x5, and color 35mm film. The series documents the exodus of Mexican communities resulting from economic violence in Mexico, and includes many of the images used in the book Exodus/Èxodo. The series also includes Cardona’s New Americans series, which documented the jobs, trials, and lifestyle of new immigrants in various U.S. cities, including the challenges of obtaining a driver's license in North Carolina and the protest and marches in Los Angeles for immigration reform. Other subjects documented include the anti-immigration movement, U.S.-Mexico border, US Border Patrol, boycotts, disappeared and murdered girls, Don Henry Ford (drug smuggler), families and grief, funerals, House of Death, illegal immigrants, La Mixteca, Las Chepas, Lilliana Holguin’s disappearance, Minutemen, narcos, police, protests, Voces Sin Eco (Voices without Echo), and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Images were shot in Agua Prieta (MEX), Altar (AZ), Anapra (Juárez), Bisbee (AZ), Dodge City (KS), Douglas (GA), El Paso (TX), Juárez, King Rach (TX), Las Acequias (MEX), Los Angeles (CA), Oaxaca (MEX), Phoenix (AZ), Rio Bravo (TX), Sásabe (AZ), Tapatios (MEX), Veracruz (MEX), and Zocalo Plaza (Mexico City).
    Series II, Slides (1993-2003), includes 9,118 images from Exodus/Èxodo and the New American series. It also includes Cardona’s series Dying Slowly: A look inside the maquiladoras on the U.S./Mexico border and The Truth: Evidence of a Failure. The series documents economic structures, and the lives of individuals and communities. Included are views into ADC International OUS Inc., Allegiance (Convertors plant), Antec Network Actives (Texscan plant), Electrical Wire (E.C.M. plant), Harman International Company, Lear Corp. (Fuentes plant), Miss RCA Beauty Contest, and RCA-Thomson plant, United Technologies Automatic, UTC #158. Also documented are homicides in Juárez, including femicides and the search for Lillian Holguín and its aftermath. Subjects and locations include barrio conditions, churches, demonstrations, gang members, Juárez, laborers, maquiladoras, marches against violence, neighborhoods, nightclubs, Oaxaca, police, protests, Rio bravo, Santa Fe international bridge, Texans, Veracruz, and Voces Sin Eco.
    Series III, Digital Images (2007-2012), includes 7,752 digital images documenting daily life, crime and its aftermath, and the culture in Ciudad Juárez since militarization. The images document the militarization of the city in 2008, human rights violations by the army, and the federal police takeover in 2010. Captured are execution scenes, killings, dead bodies, bodies in the morgue, threats, bullet-ridden cars, and the investigation of various killings include journalist. Also included are massacres at rehabilitation centers, survivors, Houses of Death, mass graves, clandestine graves, politicians and the military, and the families of the murdered and missing. Images from Cardona’s collection are used in the book Murder City by Charles Bowden. Other subjects include the social effects of maquiladoras; the destruction of entire neighborhood blocks, the exodus of residents fleeing the violence, the collapsing economy, the changing physical landscape of Calle Mariscal, abandoned neighborhoods in Ciudad Juárez, and Visión en Acción, an asylum 20 miles southwest of Ciudad Juárez that provides shelter for mentally ill people.
    Series IV, Prints (1993-2005), includes 90 prints, the majority of which are black and white, made from the film and slides. Seventy-one prints were made from images for and appear in Exodus/Éxodo and the New American series. Images include those of the journey and trails used to immigrate from border cities, hiring coyotes, crossing the desert, encountering Minutemen and border patrol, grief of individuals to Voces sin Eco. Eighteen color prints are primary from the slides about the maquiladora industry and include the shantytowns and communities surrounding the maquilas such as Aguas Negras, the conditions inside the maquilas, the young girls and boys working in the maquilas, the bosses, and the beauty contest held to enforce femininity among the female workers. Included are views into ADC International OUS Inc., Allegiance (Convertors plant), Antec Network Actives (Texscan plant), Electrical Wire (E.C.M. plant), Harman International Company, Lear Corp. (Fuentes plant), Miss RCA Beauty Contest, RCA-Thomson plant, and United Technologies Automatic, UTC #158. These prints have been exhibited in various exhibitions.