Undercover – Story Behind The Images

To celebrate the upcoming release of our new book Undercover, we ask its author Onnis Luque for stories behind five images from the project.

I was 9 years old when one of the most destructive earthquakes in the history of Mexico City happened. Ironically, 32 years later, on the same very day, another devastating earthquake hit the city. This is where I have lived all my life. This event touched me deeply in many ways. It felt very close to home, not only emotionally speaking but geographically. This particular image is from a damaged building located just a few meters from where I live, on the same block as my own.

After the earthquake, at some point, many buildings dressed up like the one in this image started to appear all over the city. To me, these covered buildings were a kind of involuntary sign of mourning.

Gradually, I started to see all these anonymous sculptures as a metaphor of the corrupt agreements that some journalistic investigations had uncovered to be the cause of why many of the buildings collapsed or were damaged. There is an uncertainty with not knowing whether these are damaged buildings or new ones, and to not know, for sure, if they were constructed in accordance with corrupt agreements or not.

I once read an article in a journal called “Corruption Kills”. It was really shocking for me to realise that corruption has deepened in the social and political structure, and that the consequences are not just economic or political, but often a matter of life or death.

This final image reflects the urban voids left by the buildings that collapsed in the earthquake or the ones that were demolished, and for me, is also a metaphor of the void left by the people who lost their lives in the earthquake.