The first time you see it, you have to stifle the urge to turn away. There staring blankly back at you from the pages of the local newspaper is a body, long since dead. It matters not the city, because all across the country the police pages are home to some of the most sensational news photography you’ll ever see in Mexico. Think of it as your local police blotter on steroids.
The first time I ever experienced these pages I was stunned. Right there in front of me, on the front page of the city section were pictures of people killed the night before, either in a gruesome traffic accident, or at the hands of another, murdered.
The history of this style of photography goes back years, but the undisputed king of the genre is a man named Enrique Metinides. Metinides started helping another photographer as a young child in Mexico City years ago. In 1949, he began a long distinguished career with Nota Roja, one of leading tabloids in the city.
With the release of 101 Tragedies of Enrique Metinides, a book detailing his years of photographing death, loss and destruction in D.F., there has been a renewed interest in his work. I was recently in Guadalajara, and saw a small but wonderful exhibit of some of his images at the Hospicio Cabañas, one of the leading art museum in the city. Haunting is a word I would use.