Photographer Seth Berry is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Anchuria’. To see Seth’s body of work, click on any image.
In 1904, the term “Banana Republic” was coined by the short story writer, O. Henry, in his collection of stories titled Cabbages and Kings based on his time in Honduras. Then, the term referred to a small, unrich, tropical country, whose economy relied heavily on the exploitation of foreign companies and investors to purchase commodities. This exploitation led to corrupt governments, foreign-funded coups, violence, and tremendous wealth disparity–all for the benefit of foreign interests and local plutocracy, which still exists today. O. Henry labeled his Honduras under the pseudonym of Anchuria. His stories told tall tales of mysterious adventure, eccentric characters, spectacles of third world conundrums, and a country teetering on the edge of revolution. Over a hundred years later, little has changed.
In 2019 Honduras— nearly 20% of the population lives in poverty, current legislation threatens to privatize health and education, military (trained by the U.S.) violently repress and kill protestors, and Juan Orlando Hernandez is being linked to narcotrafficking while in his illegitimate and illegal second term as president.
This is the backdrop of the images I have been taking over the past two years. I work to show the characters and phenomena of everyday life in Honduras, at once resilient and vulnerable. From elder fishermen to transexual prostitutes, student protestors to teargas-toting military police, this overlooked populous is working the maze of hope in the land of illusory governance.
Each day in Honduras seems like a surreal vaudeville of loosely connected stories, just as O. Henry’s Anchuria did. This ongoing series contains images of reality–truths of the continuance of repression and exploitation, but also, images meant to bring intrigue and curiosity to the nature of the land of Anchuria.