A huge labyrinth skirts the outer rims of the city of Caracas, climbing up and over the valleys. It is Petare, home to some two million people and the highest crime rates in Latin America – larger and more violent as years go on. Overcrowded, unofficial cities filled with young mothers, fatherless children; many fall into a life of underage crime and drugs, lucky to survive adolescence without being shot, killed or spending time in prison.
According to the Venezuelan children’s rights group CECODAP, the number of crimes perpetrated by minors increased 70% in 2014, while Reuters reported one youth was murdered every ten hours. UNICEF states Venezuela as the third worst country worldwide for youth homicides. While none of this information is disputable, what the mainstream media tends to forget or chooses not to highlight is that behind all of the negativity and darkness that shrouds these areas, there lays many a normal existence. Two million Venezuelans have moved abroad in the last four years.
Opportunities normally do not arrive on the doorsteps of those who consider Petare home and so they continue to look for light closer to home, taking solace in the amenities available and friendships forged in a too fragile peace.
About the Artist:
James Forde hails from the green and wet lands of Ireland where he began his journey many years ago as a chef. This took him to live in London and New York as well. The last three years he has spent traversing through Latin America documenting social issues, perfecting his craft and trying to better understand the world around him. James attended no University or ever studied the visual arts as he left school at 16. After several different career choices he found his calling while living in El Salvador. Since then his focus has been long term documentary projects looking at the affects political decisions have on those at ground level. Driven by an insatiable appetite for knowledge and information. His obsession with photography is not so much about the medium itself but more about building a portfolio of visual knowledge while connecting with people and communities that he normally would never encounter.The camera has given James an excuse to continue travelling and asking questions. It allows him to get far closer to things that he feels important in the world. While documenting these issues he uses the camera as a tool of education both for himself and those around him.
About the Publisher:
PhotoIreland Foundation is a volunteer led organisation dedicated to stimulating a critical dialogue around Photography in Ireland, and to promoting internationally the work of artists in and from Ireland. PhotoIreland is committed to the cultivation of a deeper and critical understanding of Photography. In 2010, PhotoIreland launched Ireland’s first international festival of Photography & Image Culture: PhotoIreland Festival. It celebrated Ireland’s first Book & Magazine Fair in 2011, dedicated to Photography, which was the germ of The Library Project, a unique public resource library focused on the photobook opened in 2013.