Born in 1960 in Zacatecas, Mexico, Julián Cardona migrated to the border city of Juárez with his family as a small child. He attended school in Juárez, received vocational training, and worked as a technician in the maquiladora industry. In 1991, Cardona returned to Zacatecas to teach basic photography at the Centro Cultural de Zacatecas; two years later, he started his photojournalism career at El Fronterizo and El Diario de Juárez. In 1995, Cardona organized the group exhibition, “Nada que ver/ Nothing to See,” in Juárez, featured in Harper’s Magazine (Charles Bowden, “While You Were Sleeping: in Juárez, Mexico, photographers expose the violent realities of free trade) in December 1996. Photographs from this exhibition inspired the award-winning book, Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future (Aperture, 1998). His photographs taken inside foreign-owned factories in Juárez were also featured in Camera of Dirt (Aperture 159, 2000).
Cardona’s work has been exhibited in the Houston FotoFest 98: “Stories About Us;” in “Borders and Beyond,” an international group show organized by Pro Helvetia – Arts Council of Switzerland; in “Lines of Sight: Views of the U.S./Mexican Border,” at galleries of the University of California at Riverside, Santa Cruz and Merced; in “Photography Past/ Forward: Aperture at 50,” at Sotheby’s New York in January 2003 and in the Golden- Anniversary publication of the same title. In 2004, Cardona received the Cultural Freedom Fellowship awarded by the Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, NM.
Recently published titles include No One is Illegal, with texts by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis (Chicago: Haymarket, 2006); Exodus/ Éxodo (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2008), documenting the historic migration of Mexicans to the United States and Murder City (New York: Nation Books, 2010) a photographic essay on Ciudad Juárez, the world’s most violent city, both in collaboration with Charles Bowden. Images of Exodus are included in the touring exhibition The History of the Future/ La historia del futuro (Michael Berman, Julián Cardona, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, 2008) and Exodus was featured in the 2011 edition of Promenades Photographiques, a photo festival held annually at Vendôme, France. Since 2009, Julián Cardona is correspondent in Ciudad Juárez for Reuters.
The images below have been published in the book Exodus/Éxodo.