Firefly is a photographic essay on resilience, in which those touched by violence speak through images.
In Mexico, violent drug cartels and the impunity of corrupt local authorities have changed the lives of thousands of families, leading to numerous unsolved missing-person cases.
Yael Martínez set out to visualize what the families of such people experience in the face of the turbulent violence that has rattled his country. He focuses on the resilience of communities fractured by the state and organized crime, centring their extraordinary will to remain hopeful despite their grief. Martínez punctured the images to accentuate Mexico as a symbolic space—a land where violence penetrates everything, invading the physical and spiritual homes of those who inhabit it.
By letting glimmers of light shine through the punctured photographs, Martinez exposes what may not be revealed in a standard portrait. Through this, he creates a way for unheard voices to filter through the opacity of sorrow, encouraging a deeper understanding of hope, resilience, and boundless compassion.
The work of Yael Martínez is part of the group exhibition Space to Breathe, curated by Newsha Tavakolian and on display in the Grote Kerk Breda.
Yael Martínez (b. 1984, Taxco, Mexico) is an associate at Magnum Photos agency. He is a recipient of the 2022 Wayfinder Award, presented by the National Geographic, and a member of The National System of Creators in Art in Mexico. He won the regional award of the World Press Photo in North and Central America, in the category of Open format in 2022. His work has been published by the National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Lens, New York Times, Time, Vogue Italy, Vrij Nederland, and Aperture.
Website – www.yaelmartinez.com
Location: Grote Kerk