Can You See Me? : The Effect of “Blinding" The Photographic Subject

Sean Gillikin


Danny Lyon (b. 1942)

Untitled (Four Mexican Workers)
gelatin silver print | paper
Gift of Zoe and Yuri Gurevich

In 1977, undocumented farmworkers staged a citrus strike in El Mirage, Arizona, and accused the Border Patrol of staging retaliatory raids. A tape shared with U.S. Attorney Mike Hawkins depicted “a great deal of destruction of food, clothing, and of their crude shelters” by “La Migra” - the Border Patrol. Danny Lyon traveled to Maricopa County, the site of this disturbance, in order to photograph some of the participants in the strike who were demanding higher wages and better living conditions. This image shows four defiant men staring into the unrelenting desert sun with only their hats to shield their eyes. The shadows cast by their hats obscure parts of their faces including their eyes, thereby hiding their identity and even their humanity. These are people that, to much of America, aren’t worthy of dignity simply because they don’t have a U.S. citizenship, but their determined gaze disregards that hatred in pursuit of what’s right.

- Sean Gillikin, W20 HISTORY 379


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Last Updated

October 7, 2022 9:40 a.m.


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