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Picture Escuelas de guerra paramilitares (1)
- Julián Lineros
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- Escuelas de guerra paramilitares (1)
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Born in Bogotá in 1963, Julián Lineros began working as a photographer at the age of twenty-eight. As no university offered a specific photography study programme in Colombia in the 1990s, he initially opted for cinema. Working as a photojournalist, he contributed to the Colombian magazines Cambio 16, Semana, Cromos, Caras, Gente, Don Juan and the international press. With accreditation from the Gamma-Eyedea agency, he covered the release of Ingrid Betancourt, and his photos appeared in magazines like Elle and Paris Match. Now a freelance, Julián Lineros also teaches photography at university level. In 2002 he was awarded the Simón Bolívar Prize for journalism.
The series exhibited here shows the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) training in the jungle. This far-right militia recruits children from Choco, one of the country's poorest regions. Sworn enemies of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the AUC is deeply involved in weapons and drug trafficking.
"My first assignment was for a newspaper in the Arauca region on the Venezuelan border. At that time the government was fighting the leftist guerrillas of the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The war in Colombia isn't easy to cover: the wild, mountainous terrain and manipulation of information by the various belligerents means that, for a war that's been in the news for forty years, the images are not numerous and don't tell you much.
My thing is the portrait. I work in colour, use standard 50 and 80 mm lenses and pay close attention to composition. But I've always been careful, too, about the political meaning of my photos. They should create an awareness of the vulnerability of such people in Colombia as peasants, workers, policemen, guerrilla fighters, paramilitary groups and the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. I consider photos as information, but I bow to the Colombian rule: no names, place names or dates. So as not to put people's lives in danger. I'd like to go and work somewhere else: after twenty years of assignments in my own country I've had enough of watching history repeat itself. Governments change, but not the situation. As if the war were part of the national heritage, like coffee and beauty queens."