La Distancia

Shortlist 2018

federico vespignani

Federico Vespignani is an Italian photographer born and raised in Venice. He studied visual arts at the IED in Rome, upon graduation began working as a freelance photographer for editorial and corporate clients. His latest work revolves around the relationship between the individual and his fear, mainly in Central America and Mexico. Vespignani participated in the XXX Eddie Adams Workshop in 2017. 

The Conflict

La Distancia

Over the last forty years violence has become a part of everyday life in the so-called Northern Triangle, composed of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Beyond an average murder rate of a war zone, nowadays people are not just being killed, they are also vanishing. Street gangs such as La Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and other criminal organizations rule over the population by fear: "Ver, oir y callar" (look, listen and shut up) is a motto you see on walls all around these countries, where gangs dictate how people live. Governments’ reaction to the advent of organized crime and violence has been open war, going by a sort of utopian idea of ending violence with violence. In this context the Northern Triangle has witnessed more than decade of systematic use of forced disappearances by criminal groups and law enforcement alike, which has blurred their roles on the field of battle for control. Israel Ticas’ job is to search for those who have disappeared. “The main thing that keeps me doing this is the pain of the families who have lost their loved ones. They are like zombies, their hearts are gone with their sons,” said Mr. Ticas.