“In terms of book form, “Before the War” is not one cohesive “book” but rather a splintering of signatures, a splintering of narrative; a book broken up into pieces with an equally disjointed story. The photographs within are suggestive of the people and places affected by the drug war in Mexico. Yet the more information we are presented with, the less we seem to understand. This experience parallels the confusion of citizens living amongst it. Cartagena adds his perspective and leaves us questioning; What do we truly know? Who do we believe? What is really going on?” LARISSA LECLAIR for TIME
“Ultimately, Before the War visualises the confusion and the sense of defencelessness that was spread throughout the country during the war in a very powerful way. Without showing us the actual atrocities that have happened in the country, Cartagena describes these feelings and actions without excess – and the reader is required to be involved beyond simply turning pages of a book” .—RACHEL MORÓN for GUP Magazine
“Before the War is not the most transparent of books. It’s a bit messy in some ways. But it is ambitious in its scope. It is the start and not the end of a project that will develop into something altogether grander and more accessible, something that might one day lead to the end to the hypocrisy, corruption, and killing that have devastated great swathes of the country”.—COLIN PANTALL for Photoeye
Selected as one of TIME Magazine Best Photobooks of 2015
Selected as one of the best books of 2015 Kassel Photobook Festival
Shortlisted for Photobook Award at Arles Photography Festival
In 2008 the war against the drug cartels erupted in Mexico. The state of nuevo leon in northeastern Mexico became an increasingly violent place. This book is a compilation of images and texts that obsessively revisit places where the war was eventually fought and look for signs of an evil that lay underneath but was invisible to everyone´s eyes at the moment these images were shot.
Edition of 190 signed and numbered 6 softcover risograph booklets + 1 offset poster + 1 risograph postcard.