Photograph: Erin Lee


This series of images portrays the damages behind the glorification of narco-lifestyle in some of the areas most affected by narco-trafficking trade in Mexico.

To a large percentage of the population in Mexico narco-traffickers have become archetypal symbols of wealth, power and possessorship, whose way of life offers an escape from poverty. The cartels employ elaborate recruitment strategies targeting young adults to join their groups, and the level of willingness from many citizens to join, only increases the magnitude of the cartels.
The reality however, is that very few who enter the trade will have the opportunity to bask in the glory to any long-term extent. Within the states most affected by narco- related violence you can’t miss the after affects of the multitude of casualties, connected or not with the narco-trade; gaudy mansions abandoned after seizure from the government, bullet ridden facades left to rot after their owners had fled, families cling to the items they have left from assassinated loved ones, faded photographs and American bills with handwritten petitions asking for protection adorn chapel walls, and footpaths are lined with imposing cenotaphs in memory of the slain as if the city’s streets act as a second cemetery.

What stands is a visual record of the reality that exists behind the glamour, which is so likely to be short-lived, and the repercussions that hang over the Mexican population due to drug related violence.

About the author:

Erin Lee Holland is originally from New Zealand, where she studied professional photography then began her career in Australia in studio photography, from there she worked in fashion photography in New York, however eventually moved on to Mexico City where she currently lives and works as an editorial and documentary photographer. She is also a teacher at several photography schools and works with a group creating pinhole photography workshops for children living in vulnerable states. Her work has been exhibited in Australia, New York, Colombia, Mexico and Portugal; and published in various countries within North America, South America, Europe and Oceania.

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