Sofía Muñoz Boullosa is a Mexican photographer who was born in Mexico City. In 2010, she became part of photographers’ staff of Ibero 90.9, a radio station in her hometown, where she covered live music events for the station and other digital media.
In 2014, she documented the lives of women working in Los Tulipanes, a local bakery located southwest of Mexico City. Since then, her work has focused on documentary photography.
In 2016, she graduated from the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Interview with Sofía Muñoz
Foto Féminas: Tell us how your project, Pedro, came about?
Sofía Muñoz: When I came to New York I lived in a neighbourhood called Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where a lot of Mexicans live. One day I went out with my camera to take some photographs and came across the Rosalindo Grocery Store, a block away from my house. I took a photo of it and then carried on walking, but I slowed down when I heard a man shout. He asked me in English to take a photo of him. His name was Pedro Cruz and was the owner of the Rosalindo Grocery Store. I turned round and spoke to him in Spanish. It took him by surprise because I’m blonde and a lot of people say that I don’t look Mexican. He asked me to walk with him and we talked for a couple of hours about Mexico, Pueblo (his native state), Mexican food, racism, migration, Trump and missing Mexico. When I returned home an idea occurred to me: to look for more ‘Pedros’ to demonstrate the variety, complexity and the human stories linked to migration.
FF: Why did you decide to start a project about Mexican identity and migration in New York?
SM: When I came to New York, the subject of Trump and migration was at its height. He had just made a statement expressing his beliefs that all Mexicans bring drugs into the United States and are rapists. Because of this, from the first day I was here I knew that I wanted to work on a project which challenged these declarations and these sentiments and provide an alternative image of Mexicans who come to the United States looking for a better life.
FF: How has your project been received among the ‘Pedros’?
SM: It has been really well received; they have given me a lot of positive comments about the project and the idea behind it. People have been interested in sharing and showing the distinctive aspects of migration, and not only Mexicans but people from all over the world who, in one way or another, have had experiences related to migration. What has excited me the most is receiving calls from the ‘Pedros’ who feel proud of having shared their stories.
FF: How did you manage to contact all of these ‘Pedros’?
SM: After encountering the first Pedro walking past my house, I searched on Facebook and Twitter for Pedros in New York. I found two using this method. All of the rest were encountered walking through neighbourhoods with the largest populations of Mexicans in the city: South Bronx, Spanish Harlem, Bushwick and Greenwood. The majority of the time I went into places asking if there was anyone called Pedro there, and this is how I found the rest.
FF: What are your future plans regarding this project?
SM: I have been looking for more Pedros, with more stories. In a couple of months I would like to show a second group of Pedros, trying to find more varied profiles. As I’ve always said, migration is not a homogenous theme. It is made up of individuals and each one of them has the right to tell their story. I hope to be able to help more Pedros to express who they are and share their motives for leaving their country and their culture, to look for a better life.
To know more about Sofía’s work, here.
Sofía Muñoz Boullosa es una fotógrafa mexicana que nació en la Ciudad de México. En 2010, entró a ser parte del staff de fotógrafos de la estación de radio Ibero 90.9, donde cubrió eventos de música en vivo para la estación y otros medios digitales.
En 2014 documentó la vida laboral de las mujeres trabajadoras de Los Tulipanes, una panadería local ubicada al suroeste de la Ciudad de México. Desde entonces, su trabajo se ha enfocado en la fotografía documental.
En 2016 se graduó del programa de Fotoperiodismo y Fotografía Documental en el Centro Internacional de Fotografía (International Center of Photography). Actualmente vive y trabaja en la ciudad de Nueva York.
Recientemente, el panorama político de los Estados Unidos ha situado a los mexicanos bajo lupa. El candidato presidencial republicano Donald Trump, ha dicho que “ellos (los mexicanos) traen drogas, incrementan el crimen y son violadores”, creando una atmósfera de miedo y enojo en las comunidades de inmigrantes y despertando pensamientos y sentimientos racistas en los ciudadanos estadounidenses. Trump ha usado la imagen de Mexicanos que buscan una vida mejor como una granada de mano en el proceso electoral de los Estados Unidos.
Este proyecto es un serie de retratos de inmigrantes mexicanos, todos se llaman Pedro, en la ciudad de Nueva York. Los retratos afrontan clichés sociales e intentan enseñar que los inmigrantes son gente diversa, única y humana como los demás, Pedro lava los platos, él también es un estudiante graduado, el dueño de un restaurante y un bailarín.
Entrevista con Sofía Muñoz