Families separated and detained at the border: A photo essay | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-8022
  • E-ISSN: 2042-8030


The artist’s book, , features 10 cyanotypes that visually communicate messages about being detained and separated. The cyanotypes, presented in sheer vellum envelopes, are reminiscent of postcards that one might mail home. However, the haunting imagery suggests the story is not about a vacation, but rather, a desperate situation. The cyanotypes are flanked by a front and back cover using idealistic family imagery. The metal cage and quick links create a strong visual statement in an attempt to document the outrage, sadness, and helplessness the artist feels about thousands of asylum-seekers being held in inhumane conditions at the US/Mexico border.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alfonsi, Sharyn. ( 2021;), ‘ Families separated by Trump administration at the border still waiting for reunification. ’, CBS News, 10 October, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/migrant-children-family-separation-border-60-minutes-2021-10-10/. Accessed 11 November 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Burke, Garance,, Linderman, Juliet, and Mendoza, Martha. ( 2021;), ‘ Migrant children held in mass shelters with little oversight. ’, Associated Press/PBS News Hour, 11 May, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/migrant-children-held-in-mass-shelters-with-little-oversight. Accessed 11 November 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Flores, Adolfo. ( 2021;), ‘ A mother who was separated from her sons at the border has reunited with them four years later. ’, Buzzfeed News, 26 May, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adolfoflores/separated-immigrant-families-reunited. Accessed 11 November 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. McDonald, Brent. ( 2021;), ‘ Many families torn apart at Southern U.S. border face a long and uncertain wait. ’, New York Times, 4 May, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/04/world/americas/guatemala-separation-long-wait.html. Accessed 11 November 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Nawaz, Amna,, Raney, Adam,, Jackson, Lena. I., and Walters, Tommy. ( 2021;), ‘ Deported without their children, separated mothers hope to be reunited years later. ’, PBS News Hour, 1 February, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/deported-with-their-children-left-behind-mothers-hope-to-be-reunited-years-later. Accessed 11 November 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Torrens, Claudia. ( 2021;), ‘ Families separated at Mexico border build new American life. ’, AP News, 25 May, https://apnews.com/article/immigration-lifestyle-business-bff429b43e4496d0477889a637bf7866. Accessed 28 May 2021.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Gates, Leslie. ( 2022;), ‘ Families separated and detained at the border: A photo essay. ’, Book 2.0, 12:1, pp. 8796, https://doi.org/10.1386/btwo_00064_1
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): artist book; border; cyanotype; detainment; journalism; photo essay; separation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error