A little girl walked through Mexico’s residential La Roma district with her parents. She hugged everyone she saw, who appeared to be wearing a uniform. She was giving out love. She was thanking them for everything. After hugging them, they couldn’t help but smile.
“She saw me taking pictures, with my vest and pants, and I got my hug as well. I was very depressed, brokenhearted, and she cured my soul. Seeing that girl was medicine for the soul,” photographer Eduardo Feldman, told HuffPost Mexico.
Feldman is the creator of the series #HéroesSinNombre or #NamelessHeroes, a project that documents people as they sought to rebuild their lives after the Sept. 19 earthquake in Central Mexico.
“I put on a no-sadness filter. I didn’t want to photograph tragedy, but heroism; people who were working on picking up the rubble, on saving lives,” the photographer recounts.
Feldman is a self-taught photojournalist and the founder of Fotopaseos, or Phototours, an agency that organizes trips from a photographic perspective. He knows that his responsibility as a photographer forces him to document but, “when this happened, I knew full well that I wanted to help.” He help build a shelter from an empty storage container and, by that night, there were already 12 people sleeping there. Afterwards, he set out to take pictures of some of Mexico City’s districts.
Feldman added that he felt the social and emotional impact of the quake more in the days after the immediate aftermath, as rescuers talked less about survivors and more about “bodies.”
“Close to the disaster area, I started to hear conversations about bodies and not about people. I got to see some rescue workers ready to go in, they were talking about ‘people’ on Thursday, and by Saturday they were explaining that they thought ‘bodies’ were there. That made my skin crawl,” he recalls.
Feldman was surprised by the fact that, just hours before the quake, we were all going on about our lives and “suddenly you see people climbing over rubble, saving lives.”
“My pictures are the legacy I want to leave for my country, so that they remember that in 24, 48, 72 hours’ time, people put their lives aside and put themselves at risk to save others,” he notes.
He says he was impressed by people helping one another. It was the people’s drive and strength that helped him set the theme for his pictures. And that’s precisely what he wants his pictures to display to the Mexican people: “to see that that’s who we are.”
On a Facebook post he published for the #HéroesSinNombre project, the photographer explains that he would love for the people in the pictures to find themselves “and feel proud that their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.” He also hopes the recognition will help inspire more people to take to the streets and help.