Saundra Sturdevant Photography

All photos on this site are
(c) Copyright Saundra Sturdevant

Documentary Images & Text   Mexico Oaxaca Uprising 2006 Teachers Local 22  Strike  National Education Workers Union  Mistec  Zapotec indigenous  APPO Non-violence   Governor Ulizes Ruiz Ortiz  PRI Assassination Brad Will  PPF Federal Preventive Police  Barraides  paramilitary Uses and Customs California Agribusiness Strawberries  Migration Immigration  NAFTA  North American Free Trade Agreement
Oaxaca Uprising

Teachers Strike encamped in the zoloco developed into The 2006 Oaxaca Insurrection. Teachers, workers, students, artists, progressive professionals, indigenous Mixtec, Zapotec and Triki united into Asambla Popular de Pueblos Oaxaca (APPO). Using the murder by paramilitary of North American journalist Brad Will, Federal Preventive Police, in full riot gear, forcefully removed the encampment. Relocating to Santo Domingo Cathedral, thousands of APPO resisters and supporters created a cultural and political community where discussion was constant and indigenous, women and youth actively participated.

Documentary Images Women’s Life Stories U.S. Military Asia Philippines Okinawa Korea Women sexual labor prostitution bars brothels homes neighborhoods Smokey Mountain Luzon Samar Internal refugees colonial neo-colonial destruction forests farmsl fishing
Let the Good
Times Roll

The women who sell their sexual labor in the bars and brothels outside the US military bases in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Korea are internal refugees living complex lives.  Their situation is a product of the wars and rapacious colonial and post-colonial development policies, enforced by foreign and local military, that also bring ecological devastation to traditional fishing, agricultural and forest villages and land.  Let The Good Times Roll: Prostitution and U.S. Military in Asia, Published in 1992 (The New Press), uncovers the tip of the iceberg.  The sale of women’s sexual labor is as integral to war as weapons. In 2009 the United States had approximately 1000 military bases around the world.

Documentary Images Spanish and English Text
California: Women's Agricultural Labor

Images and a text of women’s words document migrant labor from Mexico and life in petrochemical based agribusiness of Tulare County, California Central Valley. Tulare is the number one citrus county in North America, as well as producer of a great variety of vegetables and fruits. Conditions of labor and lifestyle are ones that accompany plantation-style industrialization. This work raises a number of gender focused questions on the nature of women’s labor in traditional agricultural and in agribusiness. Period of work: 1994 through 2006.

Documentary Images Women Agriculture India Maharashtra State Landless Peasant Migrations Child Labor Field Crops Jowar Millet Potato Eggplant Cotton Rice Domestic Labor Firewood Water Cooking Cleaning
Women's Agricultural Labor
Part I

The first two aspects of this documentary work on traditional agriculture of Maharashtra State, India, focuses on the field and domestic work of migrant women and resident women. In the fields, women are the planters of seeds and the weeders of crops. They have a full compliment of domestic responsibilities, including gathering firewood, drawing water, food preparation and cleanup, laundry and care of children, husband, and elders.. A girl’s fieldwork and domestic work life begin at an early age, as does marriage. Education is not available to migrant women , and rarely to the resident women who join them in the fields.

Documentary Photography Images India Agriculture Sector Maharashtra State Ancillary Labor Cashews Charcoal Sewer Pipe Kiln Rock Hauling Commercial Washing Textiles Recycle Cement Bags Factory Peasant Unions Women’s Movement
Women's Agricultural Labor
Part II


Migrant and resident women will also work in local small-scale industries in the rural areas. In work situation where it is possible for the woman’s children to work beside her, they do. Work as charcoal makers, rock diggers and crushers, haulers of sewer pipes to the kiln, cashew processors, repairing cement bags for reuse, and commercial launderers who dry the laundry in trees and on hillsides are some of the ancillary jobs available.


Documentary Photography China Black and White Images Turning Point 1981-1982 Socialism Capitalism Beijing Commune Factory Datung Shanxi Hunan Xian Xinjiang Szchuan Gansu Shanghai Yellow River Lanzhou Shandung
Black & White

 Images of China: At the end of the socialist period, 1981-82. 

Documentary Photography China 1986-88 Deng Xiaoping Third World International Loans Steel Petrochemicals Technology Resources Iron Coal Oil Privatization Dismantle Communes Individual Household Production Migration Countryside to Cities Labor Export Processing Shen-zhen The Nation: China’s New Labor Market Sept 1988
of an Era

 At the end of the socialist period in the early 1980s, finalized with dismantling of the communes and the new policy of privatization of land, peasants unable to make a living on the land migrated to cities. Primarily, the males worked in construction; the females in the domestic and service sector, and by the sale of their sexual labor. Both worked in factories of export processing zones. Huge labor markets of 100,000 male peasants and some 25,000 female peasants are to be found outside China’s major Eastern cities. These 1987-88 images are from Shen-zhen, the model export processing zone.

Documentary Photography China Hainan Province 1988 Traditional Life Minorities Li  Miao  Zhuang  Muslim

 Situated northwest of Hong Kong, Hainan province is home to peoples of Malay extraction: the Miao, Li, and Zhuang. A sizeable Hui (Muslim) community has lived on Hainan for the last 2,500 years. Minerals, old growth forests, copra, medicinal, fishing, and gorgeous beaches are targeted for a modernizing form of development by turning the whole island province in to an all-encompassing export processing zone. Sanya on its southern tip is headquarters of the South China fleet that enforces China’s claim to sizeable deep-sea oil deposits off the Vietnamese coast.

Documentary Photography Images Spanish & English Text Migrant Photography Project NGO California Central San Joaquin Valley Migrant Mexico Border Crossing Agriculture Agribusiness Field Labor Industrial Dairy Housing Literacy Bi-Lingual Education Health Lindsay Migrant HR4437 Sensenbrenner Bill Protest Porterville Immigration Legalization

 MPP believes each human being has within herself natural creative gifts that may find expression in photography. Participants are migrant women living and working in the California Central Valley. She may or may not have papers and has lived and worked in North America for ten to twelve years in the fields, packinghouses and kitchens of Mexican restaurants. She has children and a husband to care for. Her language is Spanish with little or no English. Saundra Sturdevant founded MPP as a non-governmental organization with 501C3 status in late 1990s, taught the women to photograph and use computers to create materials for education and systemic change within their community. The women choose the topics to work on.

US Military Latino Recruitment

 The US military focuses its recruiting efforts on communities of poverty, which includes communities of color. Local social institutions legitimate the recruiting effort and amplify the message. The Orange Parade in a small Valley town typifies this deadly symbiosis. California Central Valley is composed of small, rural towns with populations of 80 to 95% Latino.
[Spanish and English versions]

Saundra Sturdevant

Formally trained as an historian of Modern Chinese History with a PhD from the University of Chicago, Saundra began photographing professionally while living in Beijing 1981-82 and working for the Foreign Languages Press, a Chinese state danwei (work unit). Since that time she has worked has photographed in Asia and in Central and North America and written on a number of topics, published and exhibited both in galleries and non-traditional venues.