About the Book
One discovers the light in darkness, that is what darkness is for; but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith.
James Baldwin, Nothing Personal
Shadows then Light, honors the movement, begun in 2010, of undocumented youth coming out of the shadows with their stories and lives in an effort not only to claim their own human dignity, but to shine the light of their own lives back into the shadows, where the majority of youth and their families remain facing the dehumanizing threat of detention and deportation. Based on over two years of activism and research with undocumented youth, Shadows then Light explores the meaning and practice of the diverse forms of civil disobedience. Pavey and Saavedra, using the collaborative effort of Avedon and Baldwin’s Nothing Personal (1964) as their muse, provide through photographs and essays, an updated critique of a loveless American society that reduces human beings to corpses while they live. The question before us now, “Is another America possible?”
Illuminated by the light of these lives, we are confronted with the complicity of our participation in a hegemonic political-economic system that begets darkness, generating a shadowed oppression. The questions, now, for us, for America, we the jailers: Are we free? Are we fully human? Having seen the light, might we also be born again?
Steve Pavey, PhD, is a documentary photographer, applied anthropologist and contemplative activist, all of which come together in the vocation of cultivating a way to see, in order to bear witness to the world both as it is, and as it could be. His creative process is deeply shaped by accompanying and being accompanied by humanity living on the margins of empire, documenting and making photos with those shrouded in “otherness” towards the goal of collective action and mutual liberation. Steve’s art focuses on hope – hope found in the struggle and dignity of becoming more human. He has worked in nearly 30 countries around the world, most recently in Honduras and Mexico. He has traveled over the last six years to 21 US States documenting and participating in the undocumented led struggle for freedom and human dignity. Steve most recently worked as a scholar activist at One Horizon Institute in Lexington, KY where he utilized arts-based methodologies to both better understand and build