Lisa Wiltse, “Children of the Colonias”

Photographer Lisa Wiltse

In conjunction with our annual photo issue, we are publishing photo essays of long term, in-progress, personal work by contributing FADER photographers about the people and changing landscape of America. More photos from FADER contributor Lisa Wiltse’s “Children of the Colonias,” along with her personal statement about the project are after the jump.


"Colonia" is a Spanish term for "neighborhood" or "community”. In Texas, "colonia" refers to an unincorporated settlement that often lacks basic water and sewer systems, paved roads and safe and sanitary housing. They have been defined as impoverished, unincorporated areas with inadequate infrastructure found largely along the US-Mexico border.

This series of images takes a look at the daily lives of children from two families living in the colonias along the border of Mexico in Rio Bravo and La Presa. The images are a glimpse into the lives of the next generation growing up between two worlds: The consumerism and perceived material wealth of the US and a world of poverty, living in conditions reminiscent of the third world.

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Lisa Wiltse, “Children of the Colonias”