The Photographic Journal

Small Town, Big Hell

Essay 162 • Jun 28th 2017

These photographs document violence's normalization in El Salvador, a country that has registered more than 20,000 murders in the past the past five years as a consequence of the gang phenomenon.

In 2016 alone, El Salvador registered a daily rate of 14 murders. Gangs have restructured the way Salvadorian people live: stress is everywhere. It can be perceived in the image of barbed wired around the houses' roofs, the locks on every door, the precautionary measures that everyone takes before leaving their home or taking the bus and, most of all, by all the armed guards outside every store. You can't walk more than half a mile without seeing a gun.


Juanjo Pérez is an international photojournalist based in Catalonia, committed to documenting issues of social denunciation and human rights. He began studying image at the ITES school in Barcelona for four years. Later he earned his Master of Photojournalism at the IEFC Center in Barcelona for a year and finished his studies of photojournalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.