Carlos Bernate

Photographer
    That Place Called Home by Carlos Bernate  
That Place Called Home
Location: Richmond
Nationality: Colombia
Biography: Carlos Bernate is a Colombian documentary photographer/videographer/writer, whose work is focused on human rights, identity, and social humanitarian-related issues. Currently, he is dedicated to documenting his community in Richmond, Virginia,... MORE
Public Story
That Place Called Home
Copyright Carlos Bernate 2022
Updated Mar 2022
Location Richmond, VA
Topics Documentary, Immigration, Journalism, Latin America, Migration, Photography, Social Justice, Spotlight, Violence, Womens Rights
The patriarchal system that is openly manifested in some Latin American homes is a dark mark in our own history; this particular one is ephemeral, no one hears or sees it. It is forgotten as soon as it is pronounced and disappears to benefit only those who oppress.

For centuries we have fed on this violence, now naturalized, which has permeated our homes like ink on paper. A violence that is so within us that it has poisoned entire families, leaving the most fearsome endings.

My own house was the scene of these forms of violence, and from then on I assumed that it was normal, since everywhere I looked it was the norm. Arriving in Richmond, Virginia in 2017, I had to face this reality that spreads like a plague in the only place where today an undocumented immigrant in the United States can feel safe, their home.

The immigration policies of the United States have created the perfect climate for these stories to remain hidden, as victims are afraid to speak out and report their perpetrators. The unexpected change in US immigration law that removes protections for women who have experienced domestic violence in their country has helped spread the violence. Abusers now use this change in the law to further control their victims. Lying to them that if they speak, no one will listen to them.

Some might say that this argument is close to reality, and that is why some people have decided to remain in the shadows but little by little more people are taking action on their own. These women that I began to document in 2017 and through 2018-19, have been some of those who have not only taken action against their oppressors but also want to be an example to other victims that they are not alone and that within the community there are tools to support them.

This photographic essay aims to highlight a dark part of the intimacy of the Latin American home in the United States; also reflecting how these power dynamics in our homes are getting worse. Power dynamics that have been fueled by changes in immigration laws that give perpetrators more control and how this has impacted the mental health of undocumented immigrants who experience this abuse.


Story got front page in Richmond Magazine | October, 2018 Issue

Part of this body of work won in 2019: Best in Show, Specialty Photography, First Place, Picture Story or Essay and Third Place, Combination-Picture-and-Story, at Virginia Press Association Award,"Within These Walls", Published in Richmond Magazine.
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That Place Called Home by Carlos Bernate
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