I began photographing at Brighton Beach, Sydney, when I read an article written by a journalist of Lebanese descent. Surfing in Bondi, she had been told, “Go to Brighton where you belong”.
The Cronulla Riots had taken place in 2005 and, possibly more than any other event or dispute involving multiculturalism, had altered the self-perception of Australia as a ‘tolerant’ society to one where xenophobia and racist violence could erupt; where an unofficial form of apartheid could come into play; and where people of ‘Middle Eastern Appearance’ were often associated with suspicious forms of otherness.
These are images of Australian people doing everyday things.
Guatemala City is home to a large number of LGBTI sex workers who wait for customers on streets where violent attacks are omnipresent. Many of them are refugees from other parts of Central America or small villages in Guatemala where their sexuality has not been not tolerated.
In February 2006, Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to the Guatemalan president, Oscar Berger, asking the Guatemalan authorities to respond to the frequent attacks against transgendered people. The letter stated that Guatemalan police "have not done enough to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people".
Some NGOs have alleged that the National Police force has a policy of 'social cleansing', which permits violence against sections of the population - particularly women and gay men.
Organización de Apoyo a una Sexualidad Integral frente al SIDA (OASIS), is an NGO that works to prevent HIV/AIDS and to protect the rights of LGBTI people. For three weeks I traveled with OASIS on their nightly rounds of the city as they did their best to protect people during a deteriorating period of bloodshed.
La Santa Muerte is a misunderstood religious cult that emerged in Mexico in the 1960s and has expanded as the long and murderous 'drug war' has escalated.
Kings Cross for a long time was home to Sydney's red light district. When I began taking pictures there in 2004 the sex trade was on the wane due to stricter erotic nightclub regulations and what some refer to as the 'gentrification' of a place that has tended to be bohemian and wild. Alcohol, drugs and crime remain significant problems but at the core of The Cross remains a strong community that's proud of its social and cultural history. More recent State 'lockout laws' designed to reduce alcohol related violence have reduced crime in the area, however crime and alcohol-related assaults have been displaced, statistically, to other parts of the city.