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El Nuevo Alarma! Magazine catalogs the most brutal crimes and deaths in Mexico City and brings the gruesome images and stories weekly to their readers. The publication claims to have a circulation of 15 million.
In this documentary, Vice rides along with crime photographer David Alvarado as he races to cover various crimes in an attempt to capture the best (goriest) photos. He has to compete with other photographers, sometimes angry mobs and police who don't want him taking pictures of their crime scenes.
Sometimes the photographers work together and share pictures from different incidents. They all depend on tips from ambulance workers, cops and ordinary citizens to the scenes fast.
According to the documentary a cop is killed almost every day in Mexico City.
"Usually in Alarma! the photos are more cruel, more grotesque. So, those are the photos I have to take," says David. "We, the crime photographers - we're the eyes of the city when everyone else is asleep. Our photos let them know what happened during the night. That is our job. In general, most people are morbid. During the time you've been working with us, you've noticed how the people are always standing around. looking. That's the morbid attraction. And that's why they buy our newspapers."
At many of the accident/crime scenes the photographers get attacked by family members of the victims and the police themselves.
"I've had my camera destroyed. I've been kicked slapped and beaten up," says Davis.
Vice also talks with Miguel Angel Rodriguez Vazquez, the magazine’s editor about people's fascination with the magazine.
Miguel Angel Rodriguez Vazquez
"Alarma! readers like to see the photos," Miguel tells Vice. "But of course they want to know what happened. They want to know why it happened. But, if we dig a little deeper, the most interesting stories involve love. 'Why did he kill her? He killed his wife and then he tried to kill himself.' I think those stories attract people more. But, once again in the end, it's the image that grabs them."
A lot of the criminals in Mexico worship Santa Muerte "Saint Death." sometimes referred to as Señora de las Sombras "Lady of the Shadows." They believe she can protect them from getting caught. In return they pray to her promising gifts in return.
They pin money on her dress and also bring her weed, cocaine and liquor,
Saint Death and Jesus Malverde, the patron saint of drug dealers
Out of fear of retaliation from drug dealers, most photographers and journalists try to steer clear of reporting on narcotics related killings, but sometimes it can't be avoided.
"There's a lot of things they cannot investigate," Miguel explains. "If we report on accidents and gory crimes there's no retaliation. Anyone who goes past what you are allowed to say is running a big risk. They must be very brave. They are very brave and there's not many of them."
Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3