Skip to main content

Bound to El Norte: Pulitzer Prize-winning photos at UW-Madison

March 1, 2012 By Jenny Price

Los Angeles Times photographer Don Bartletti calls his work, “an adventure that falls somewhere between cultural anthropology and a scavenger hunt.”

Photo: Don Barletti


The UW–Madison community can get a firsthand look at the results in the exhibit, “Bound to El Norte,” which includes 29 images from the series that won Bartletti the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. The exhibit starts Thursday at Ebling Library.

Some of Bartletti’s work illustrating the dangerous journeys of immigrants traveling north to the United States appears in “Enrique’s Journey,” this year’s selection for Go Big Read, the university’s common-reading program.

In a recent essay, “Immigration to El Norte: Eight Stories of Hope and Peril,” he describes what led up to a photo depicting a young man praying he wouldn’t be deported as he clung to a train.

“This unguarded emotion is what I always look for as a photojournalist,” Bartletti wrote. “It’s what photographers call ‘a moment,’ an unexpected action with lasting storytelling meaning.”

Photo: Freight train

This Don Barletti photo captures a young man praying he wouldn’t be deported while clinging to a freight car.

Prior to being installed at Ebling Library, the exhibit was on display in the lobby of Memorial Library.

“After going through all the photographs, I experienced sadness, especially after seeing pictures of children taking such dangerous risks to find their mothers, but I also felt an overwhelming sense of empowerment,” undergraduate student Jessica Waala wrote in the exhibit’s notebook. “Empowerment to help these immigrants in any way that I can and hope that others feel the same way.”

Bartletti is scheduled to visit the UW–Madison campus March 19 and 20 to participate in events including an awards ceremony for “Our Nations Of Others,” a competition for artistic responses to “Enrique’s Journey.”

The exhibit is open to the public during Ebling Library’s regular hours of operation: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-11:15 p.m.; Friday: 7:30 a.m.- 5:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:45 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-11:15 p.m.

For more information on “Our Nations of Others,” visit here.



Tags: arts, Go Big Read