Neither Here Nor There

Nominated by United Photo Industries

Curated by James Estrin

Featuring Mark Abramson

As Blanca looked out the car window at the garlic and almond fields whooshing by, a vaguely familiar feeling stirred up inside her, one she hadn’t felt since a January morning 14 years ago in Querétaro, Mexico, when she saw her father fade into the distance with nothing but knapsack on his back and the promise of returning in a year.  Now, she was the one leaving her family behind.  As a sign spelling “Berkeley” flashed before the windshield, she thought she could read the contents of her father’s lost gaze reflected in the rearview mirror, and it dawned on her that she was not just going to college: once more, she was crossing a border.

Neither Here Nor There is the story of Blanca, a young undocumented woman, who grew up picking grapes in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, struggling to redefine herself as more than just an immigrant, a struggle brought about by legislation and geography. She’s just one individual amongst the estimated 1.7 million youth brought to this country by their parents before the age of 16. Blanca wants to be an American but the laws won’t let her or her family. This project is an intimate look into the life of this California DREAMer and her mixed status family as she navigates the divide between her life up north as a pre-med student at UC Berkeley and her undocumented family’s struggle living and working in Bakersfield, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.  It is a visual document following the life of one family, their challenges, small victories and fear as they live, without papers or power, in America.

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Mark Abramson (b. 1988) is a Russian-American freelance photographer and cinematographer based in New York City.

He is drawn to telling stories that allow him to cross over into his subjects’ lives, and he sees photography as a gateway into the process of  producing visual documentation in an intimate fashion. Much of the pull towards covering issues concerning immigration, undocumented populations, and other social issues, stems from the fabric of his own family history and the migration from the former Soviet Union, which has catalyzed his desire to produce journalistic and documentary content with a camera.

He graduated with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the George Washington University in 2010, and has has been producing visual content since 2009, during which time he started his journey into photojournalism; subsequently working as a multimedia intern for the Washington Post, later as a photographer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and eventually basing himself in New York City as full time freelancer.

He has been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal since 2011 and has published work with clients such as: The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week , Getty Images, GOOD Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Arena Magazine, National Geographic (Food), El Nuevo Día, and others.