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Manuel Ortiz came to the U.S. from Mexico as a bracero in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and spent decades working as a farm worker in California and Washington. He is 85 years old and can no longer work in the fields. His hands show a life of work.

David Bacon

dbacon@igc.org United States

Topics of Focus

migration and the lives of working people

Geographic Areas of Focus

U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Southest Asia


David Bacon is a photographer based in Oakland and Berkeley, California.  He is the author of several books about migration:  The Children of NAFTA (University of California Press, 2004), Communities Without Borders (ILR/Cornell University Press, 2006), Illegal People – How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008), and The Right to Stay Home (Beacon Press, 2013).  His latest book of photographs and interviews with farm workers, In the Fields of the North, will be published in December by the Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

David Bacon was a factory worker and union organizer for two decades with the United Farm Workers and the International Ladies Garment Workers and other unions. Today he documents the changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy, war and migration, and the struggle for human rights.

David Bacon's photography has been exhibited widely in the U.S.. Mexico and Europe, including at the Oakland Museum of California; University of California in Berkeley, Merced and Los Angeles; the National Civil Rights Museum; DeSaisset Museum, Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, Queens College, the Church Center of the United Nations, the Museum of Mexico City, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, IG Metall Galerie in Frankfurt, Galerie Unterhaus in Passau, and KulturAXE, in Vienna.

His articles and photoessays have been published in Afterimage, Al Jazeera America, The Nation, The Progressive, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Contexts and Gastronomica among other media. His photography and journalism have received the Max Steinbock Award, Project Censored Award, Los Angeles Press Club Award, the East Bay Press Association Award, New America Media Award, and the Domingo Ulloa Cultural Award.  As a photojournalist, David Bacon has been documenting through photographs and stories the lives of farm workers since 1988. His work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, The California Endowment, and the California Council for the Humanities.