Jeanne Bonaca

“For many years, I made yearly trips to the Southwest, looking for photographic images. The desert intrigued me, as it has so many others from the East. At the same time, I was becoming increasingly concerned by the reports of what was going on at the border. It seemed to me no one was fully addressing the issue of what happens to immigrants once they get into this country. What about the women? The children? What about the law enforcement personnel that had to deal with the violence in the borderlands and face such difficult choices?

Then, two years ago, when I was in Arizona, following the smuggling trails, I met a young Latina woman whose truck was stuck in an arroyo. We helped her get the truck out. Then we began talking, and I learned something about her story. She had been traumatized as a child as Maria is in the book. On the surface, it looked as if she was making it in her new world; she had a reasonably good job, and she had a family. But she went on to say, in the way that sometimes people confide in complete strangers, that her life here en el norte, felt increasingly confusing to her. Her past and her present, where she felt she was still being considered an outsider, were beginning to merge.

That was the beginning. I wanted to find out more about what happens to immigrants once they get here. I was fortunate to be able to find other people who were willing to tell me their stories on a confidential basis, and those stories evolved into the book.”

Jeanne Bonaca is Professor Emerita at the University of Hartford, CT. She is also a highly regarded photographer whose images of the Southwest have been a main focus of her exhibits. Most of the images on this site are Jeanne’s photographs.

Jeanne’s book, The Lady in Blue, is now available on Kindle!  Visit to purchase the book or the Kindle edition.