Bruce Berman has been a professional photographer for over four decades. He has always worked in what some call, “The Concerned Photographer,” style of photography. His initial documentary projects were in Chicago where he photographed Appalachian migrants to the big city, Black Panthers during the tumultuous 1960’s and the gritty street life of Chicago in its Rust Belt years.
His main work has concentrated on the United States/Mexico border, particularly the narrow stretch of land that encompasses El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico.
After coming back from his earliest foray on Alameda Street on El Paso’s south side, in 1980, Berman wrote in his journal, “…I have seen a new world. It is both physical fact and myth. It is a place with a line drawn through it and on each side of that line there are metaphoric mirrors that reflect back at each other, distorting each other. It is the USA/Mexican border and I am going to make my stand here.”
The aggregate result of that effort resides in three main bodies of work: The Border Project: 1985-2007, Aftermath: Cartel War Years (2007-2011) and Walking Juárez, 1975-present.
Berman lives and works deep in the borderlands of El Paso/Juárez, three blocks from the international bridge that connects them. He has only one window and it looks out south, to Juárez, to México, toward the southern part of the hemisphere. He continues to cover his “beat,”for himself and major publications throughout the world.
In addition to being a professional photographer, since 2008 he has taught photojournalism at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, 47 miles north of the border. His teaching concentration is in Documentary Photojournalism.
Living on the border with all of its many riddles, conflicts, dualities, hopes and aspirations has been perfect preparation for balancing these two missions. He considers it a border project.