It was another cool night in the city of San Francisco. We sat in a random alley way lit up by soft LED lights, perfect for photos. I started taking photos of my wonderful friend and subject, Bay Area photographer Devon Kelley. She was shy at first, but as soon as we started talking I learned a lot about Devon and her most recent project.
Devon explained that on a hot day a few months ago she was making her way back from Tijuana, Mexico. She was stopped by border patrol and had a long talk with them as they thought she might be a drug mule. To their surprise, Devon explained she wasn’t a drug mule but went to Tijuana to take photos of the border town. They let Devon go and she drove back to her home in San Diego with a camera SD card full of amazing photos. This project let her explore a place that’s full of drug cartel violence, human trafficking and also a vibrant community of people who live there. Her goal on the project was to take photos of Tijuana as is, from an outsiders perspective. The end result are a beautiful mix of street photography and landscape.
Devon made a point that being a lone single white female in a dangerous area like Tijuana was a high risk, but was worth it. She made it clear that in the world of photography, sometimes taking risks are well worth it if you get a photo that tells a story. Going into Tijuana was like going to a totally new world, but the photos she has are now permanent.
So what was the point of all this? Why did Devon decide to travel to a completely different place which is known to be dangerous? Devon explained that she wanted to capture the high poverty rate of Tijuana and how there is a whole community built on that. When you look at the photos there is a beautiful expression of what Devon was looking to find.
Devon already has a few projects she is getting ready to start in the near future. She wants to focus in on the crime that happens in the San Francisco area. She will dive into the world of photo journalism and express some of the problems in San Francisco and Oakland. We are so excited to see what is coming next from Devon Kelley.
Article by Andrew Pezzulo