La casa que sangra (The house that bleeds)

By Yael Martinez

It was getting dark when I got the call. Luz, my wife, was telling me that they had killed her brother Beto. She was uncontrollable — I had never heard her speak like that. Her voice was shaking, breaking. I could not sleep all night. “Beto was killed, hanged,” resonated in my head, “he was beaten, burned, but they told us that he committed suicide.” Her other brothers, David and Nacho, had been missing for over 3 months. 

After these events in 2013, I began to document my family and the families of other missing people as well as fractured communities that are immerse in violence in Mexico; I am trying to create work that represents the connection between absence and presence, and this state of invisibility in a symbolic manner, working with the concepts of pain, emptiness, absence, and forgetting. The symbolic construction of the territory where violence penetrate all and this violence crosses the physical and spiritual space of those who inhabit it. The territory as an analogy to a body / space that can be a house, a person, a family, a community or a country.


Martínez is based in Guerrero, Mexico. His work has explored the connections between, poverty, narcotraffic, organized crime, and how this affects the communities in his native Guerrero in southern Mexico. He is trying to represent the relationship of absence and presence and this state of invisibility in a symbolic manner working with the concepts of pain, emptiness, absence, and forgetting.

He received the Magnum Emergency Fund, Magnum On religión, and was named one of the PDN’s 30 new and emerging photographers to watch 2017. In 2015 he was selected in the Joop Joop Swart Master Class Latinoamerica. He was a finalist in the Eugene Smith grant in 2015 and 2016. He was nominated to the Foam Paul Huf Award, the Prix Pictet and the Infinity award of the ICP.

Photo Essay edited by Alejandra Martínez Moreno

3 thoughts on “La casa que sangra | By Yael Martinez”

  1. I’m at a loss for words. This is a nightmare. These photographs are incredibly dark and powerful. So visceral, so depressing, dark dark dark. My heart bleeds for Yael, the others who endure this insanity, and humanity.
    Thank-you Yael. I don’t know how you can keep yourself sane. I hope making these photographs helps you in that regard.

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