Spotlight: Griselda San Martin Looks at the Immigrants of "Puebla York"

By David Schonauer   Tuesday May 14, 2019

Welcome to Puebla York.

It’s not a place you will find on a map.

Nonetheless, documentary photographer Griselda San Martin has been photographing its boundaries and culture for the past six years.

San Martin, a Spanish photographer now based in New York City, has spent much of her career documenting the U.S.-Mexico border region, focusing on issues of immigration, deportation, inequality and human rights abuses.

But recently she has been looking at immigration from another perspective by documenting the growing Hispanic community in the United States. Her project “Puebla York,” which looks at Mexican immigrants in New York and their families in Puebla, Mexico, was named a winner of the Latin American Fotografía 7 competition.

“Well over 50 percent of Mexican migrants in New York come from the state of Puebla, in Central Mexico,” she notes. “The project focuses not only on the Mexican immigrant experience in New York but also on the transnational life and practices that link families and social networks across national boundaries, exploring themes of connectivity but also of interruption: lives separated from family and cultural identity and lives disrupted.”

“This project is driven by a concern with the marginalization of immigrant communities in the United States, the inequalities underlying the causes of migration and the impact of migration on those who remain and those who return,” notes San Martin.

“Migrants send remittances to their families, providing their loved ones with a higher standard of living; however, the social cost that migration imposes on families can’t be ignored,” notes San Martin. “When migrants leave, they leave behind their loved ones, who are deprived of a source of affection and care; statistics cannot quantify the absence, heartbreak and sadness these families experience.”

One of the goals of the project, San Martin says, is to dispel false and “disempowering” narratives applied to Hispanic communities in the US. “In contrast to the simplified stories that emphasize vulnerability, I want to highlight the complexity of this phenomenon,” she notes. “Although immigrants and their families back home experience trauma and fear, they show resourcefulness, resilience, and strength to overcome the struggles they encounter.”

San Martin is a graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography in New York; she also holds a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her photography and video projects have been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, California Sunday Magazine and other publications.


  1. Carlotta Boettcher commented on: May 14, 2019 at 1:55 p.m.
    Excdelente proyecto, muy importante esta historia de Mexico y Estados Unidos y las conexiones entre ambos y las aportaciones que esto trae a los dos paises y los sacrificios que implica para los mexicanos que viven en esta dualidad. Enorme aporte, felicidades Griselda!

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