The best of the worst


We stopped for a smoke under a bridge and saw three characters seated on a couch in front of a large stone screen. We told them we were photographers and wanted to take their picture. In the beginning they were shy (we were too) and we began by taking pictures of the place: the living room, the bathroom, the house, the garden. We gradually got to know each other better. They liked our idea and we visited them a couple more times. One day, everything was gone; neither a trace of them nor their belongings remained. We decided to investigate what had happened on the other side of the bridge, where people had also settled.

That is where we met Manuelín, the owner of a small house located between the light rail tracks of Mexico City and an overpass. We asked him about our vanished acquaintances, and he said that a there had been a police operation and a number of people had been arrested. We never found out anything else; no one knew their names. Manuelín and his friends welcomed us from the start and that same day they took us to "The Den", a place where the floor is made up of an immense mass of clothing and garbage, where rats and cockroaches turn up at every step. It was a place that was abandoned by the group after being flooded with rain water.

This is how The Best of the Worst was born, initially a photographic and then a video project that is midway between documentary and fiction, anthropology and journalism.

The photographs that comprise the first portion of this work result from the spontaneity and imagination of Manuelín and company, as well as from a constant effort to capture various moments of these characters in their own space: a peaceful afternoon “chilling” on the bridge, a hot day spent drinking amidst trucks and trains, a nighttime party and the next morning’s hangover.

This is their story. 

Antonio ContrerasAntonio Contreras (Mexico). Lives and works in Mexico City. He studied social communication at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. In 2014 he participated in the diploma course Photo Narrative and New Media from the Pedro Meyer Foundation. He regularly publishes in the collective blog Parteuno

Rafael TorradoRafael Torrado (Mexico). Mexican photographer born in Mexico City. Bachelor student in Social Communication at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Since 2011 he has worked in the field of documentary photography, where he develops the subjects of violence, drugs, discrimination and social movements.