Thumbnail image for this story (this will show up on the stories page of the site):
Relevant issues for this story, separated by commas (eg. war, race, gender):
Poverty, Drug Abuse
Geographical region for this story (eg. Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia):
North America
Relevant key words for this story, separated by commas (eg. Africa, Hurricane Katrina, Mother Teresa):
Homelessness, Mexico, Oaxaco, Children
A short summary for this story that will go on the stories page (1-2 sentences):
This project is about street children addicted to drugs living in Oaxaca, Mexico, in poverty and exremely hard human conditions and ignored by their own community.
Ramón Jiménez Cuén

2001 — student runner-up

This project is about street children addicted to drugs living in Oaxaca, Mexico, in poverty and extremely hard human conditions and ignored by their own community.

In Oaxaca, I found a group of kids running without direction, living as outcasts under the city. Their families send them to work on the streets. They clean the windows of cars when the red light stops them. They use almost all the money to buy drugs. They sniff different kinds of solvents and glue. Sometimes they use marijuana. They are between 12 and 22 years old. Almost all have been in jail. The police are always looking for them, even when they are clean. I want to capture a complete vision of their situation, follow their lives until they show me the end. I want to capture the essence of their lives which has been forgotten.

I started this project in a workshop class. Since then, I have been working on this project under the instruction of different Mexican photographers.

I began my relationship with the kids by meeting the leader of the group "El Mitra." He invited me to a popular bar. We drank a beer together as a symbol of friendship. Now he is gone, but because of that meeting all the kids accepted me as one of them.

Most of the kids are boys, with the exception of "La Guera" and "Rosita." One 18-year-old teenage thinks he is Bruce Lee when he is high. When he was younger he used to be a really good basketball player, and since then everybody knows him as "El Jordan." "El Moreno," "El Saltarin," "El Payaso," "El Botanas" and "El Chango" are some other characters.

I believe in the importance of documentary photography as a portrait of the social reality and as a memory of our time. With this project I will show the hard conditions all these kids face as an icon of poverty and the extreme conditions of life in the middle of the indifference of society.

Read more
"El Chino." Living outcasts under the city. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
The girls are everybody's girlfriends. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
"El Chilango" makes "La Guera" show her body as a symbol of control of his property. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
Cleaning the windows of the cars is how the street kids make their living. They use almost all the money to buy drugs. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
After playing basketball, "El Jordan" gets his daily dose of solvent. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
Every day "La Rosita" is molested by the boys. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
Drugs are always the reason to fight without limits. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
Sniffing solvents during the day is the main activity of 12-year-old "El Cholito." Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
A new member was born. Most likely he will be cleaning the windows of the cars at four years old. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation
Ignored by his own community, "El Moreno" is hiding his face to his enemies. He recognizes himself as a ghost. Ramon Jimenez Cuen/Alexia Foundation