I published my first photograph when I was 11 years old. The youngest news paper photographer. Its where I got my name, “el niño”. It was taken with a Brownie camera. I had no formal photo-education at all. I would learn from other newspaper photographers who I worked with and the comments of the editors. I knew the work of Nacho Lopez and Hector García but would not say they influenced me. It was much more informal. I think the biggest influence on my work has always been American movies, the early gangster movies. I would go as a boy sit near the front, sometimes see the same film again if I could. The street where we lived, San Juan de Letrán had many cinemas and I would love to go on my own, and watch the movies of Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. I think the cinematography and the light of those films really had the most impact on me. Sometimes I would be photographing some drama in the city and I would wonder if I was in Mexico or in one of those films. I have seen everything, bus crashes, plane crashes, car crashes, cars with buses, cars and trains, bicycle accidents. I have been at the crime scenes of murders, sometimes murders for really stupid things, crimes of passion, where whole families would be impacted by a moment of loss of control. I have seen shootings, assassinations, hangings and stabbings A person would die and his whole family would end up with no income, or a man would end in prison and his family suffering because of it. I have seen fires and explosions all kinds of disasters, but what always fascinated me was the people who would come to watch. The onlookers, “Metiches, mirones, curiosos, chismosos” you ask me if the reason they watch is out of some relief, that they are the onlookers thanking god they are not the victim, or their curiosity is simply a fascination with death. I think its much more simple than all these theories. People no matter where they come from love to be entertained they love spectacle and gossip. That’s why action movies are so popular! A good accident, brings out the people… and here it’s always good business for the ice-cream sellers!
Enrique “el Niño” Metinides. 2011 Mexico City. Speaking with Trisha Ziff.
This project is supported by 212Berlin and