Mauricio Palos

b. 1981 in Mexico
Lives and works in Mexico and the US

The ongoing project La Ley del Monte (The law of the mountain) by photographer Mauricio Palos shows from a range of angles the complicated reality of life in areas besieged by drug trafficking in Mexico. By visiting and revisiting historically charged areas and those that are developing their own history today, Palos aims to address all the leads that construct what we know today as the ‘war on drugs’. His journey began in the state of Michoacan with the rise of paramilitary groups, armed civilians ready to defend their land against criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking. This event incited Palos to keep exploring the rural world, where agricultural conflicts and traumas revive the ghosts of colonialism, but also led him to Mexico City and areas safer in appearance such as the Yucatan Peninsula, where violence is perceived as a distant fact. Overall, ‘this project was triggered by the idea of violence, but it is also an ethnographic study of contemporary Mexico. To understand the violence, you have to understand the country’. Each picture in this series can therefore be seen as an understandable microcosm of the larger, ungraspable problem: ranchers in favour of having local militiamen provide security, tens of thousands of young people from the #YoSoy132 movement expressing their dissatisfaction with the controversial presidential victory, or a wedding party making its way through the violence-stricken streets of Ayutla de los Libres in Guerrero.

© Mauricio Palos