I grew up around the gangs of Los Angeles, and I have seen them change over time into something way more scary than what I remember. Two gangs from Southern California that have been on some next level madness are MS-13 and 18th St – both of these gangs are now terrorizing people worldwide. They have also taken to covering their bodies with ink at a level that other gangs have not. Many members are willing to mark themselves for life on their faces and heads, which only imprisons them in their own private hell. Check this gallery of MS-13 and 18th St tatts – see for yourself how extreme these dudes can get. I guess many of these gang members mark themselves like this to evoke fear in the public and brand themselves as gangsters. MS-13 and 18th St gangs prove that they can find art in the crazy life that they lead, and that they are down to mark themselves for death! Adam Hinton‘s photos bring up close into their world. I have nothing but respect for his work and his willingness to show these human beings as more than just gangsters. You can also peep Adam Hinton’s documentary below as well. All of the photos below were taken at the Penal de Ciudad Barrios Prison and are of the MS-13 gang members.
“When I heard about the truce I thought this would give me an opportunity to talk to the gang members themselves about what the gang meant to them and why they joined it. The poverty and hopelessness in the barrios of El Salvador was so extreme that these kids felt there was little other option for them; it was the only possible route out of the slum and poverty,”
“There are men hanging around everywhere, the corridors are all packed with them, hanging around with nothing to do except kill endless amounts of time. The sanitation situation was appalling; pools of stagnant water covered with thick scum were everywhere. The prisoners had to set up their own hospital, if you could call it that. It was basically an old hall in the prison with a dozen stained mattresses to lie on. They had no medication on the day I visited,” he said.
“I want these images to show that behind the tattoos and the media stereotype there is a human being. The guys don’t look threatening to me, which I find interesting. They look resigned to their future there. The easiest thing to say is that they are all just mindless killers who should locked up forever or hung. That’s a way of avoiding the real and difficult question of what drives so many of the poor young men into the gangs and what kind of society gave birth to the gangs.”