Kosuke Okahara

A map of Central and North America at the Casa de migrantes, the shelter for illegal migrants ran by church.
Colombian prostitutes sit and wait for the customers. Some of them have traveled to U.S before.
Colombian prostitutes sit and wait for the customers. Some of them have traveled to U.S before.
Juan,40 years old, has been deported from U.S, seeking a chance to go back to U.S . His son has U.S passport since the son was born in U.S but he cannot go back legally since he smuggled into U.S then deported.
Colombian coyotes and a Cuban illegal migrant walk in the jungle during the trip  from Colombia to Panama. The border area is called Darien and is the battle ground of the leftist guerilla and right wing paramilitary.
Panama - Costa Rica border.
A car carries illegal migrants from Panama- Costa Rica border. The trip cost 600 USD to the capital of Costa Rica.
A Colombian woman traveling with a border coyote from Panama - Costa Rica border. She fled Colombia because of the violence by her husband. Now she looks for a well paid job to send money to her 3 children.
A border coyote talks with a Colombian illegal migrant during the trip from Panama- Costa Rica border.
A Colombian illegal migrant sleeps at  the Chinese restaurant during the trip to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The trip costs 600 USD.
A Colombian illegal migrant traveling with border coyotes from Panama- Costa Rica border. The trip costs 600 USD to the capital of Costa Rica. He is simply looking for abetter life in U.S.
Maria, a Colombian illegal migrant, taking a nap in the afternoon at the detention center for illegal migrants in the capital San Jose.
Carina, 42 years old Colombian prostitute waiting for customers. She has been living in Costa Rica for 8 years and decided not to go further north.
Nicaraguan illegal migrant has been arrested by immigration police and detained in the immigration transit center where illegal migrants stay as long as they can until they can buy air ticket to their countries.
Deporter Guatemalans have just arrived at the airport of Guatemala City. There are 3 flights in a week from U.S with full o illegal migrants who have been detained in the U.S.
A group of illegal migrant waiting for a small boat to smuggle to Mexico from Guatemalan coast.  The trip takes 12 hours and sometimes the boats sink during the trip.
A Colombian illegal migrants take a small boat to smuggle to Mexico from the Guatemalan coast. The trip took 12 hours to reach Mexico. Some illegal migrants pay more than 10.000 USD for their trip to U.S.
Sunset in Buenaventura. Buenaventura is the biggest port in Colombia where most of cargo ships arrive and depart.
A photograph of an illegal migrant who has been missing during his trip to U.S.
An illegal migrant family lie on the railway track while waiting for a cargo train to go to northern border of Mexico.
An illegal migrant check the cargo train during the night. They have to ride on the moving cargo train to reach U.S - Mexico border.
A group of Illegal migrants from El Salvador lie on the railway track while waiting for a cargo train which carries illegal migrants to U.S - Mexico border.
An illegal migrant tries to ride on the moving cargo train to reach U.S - Mexico border.
Illegal migrants are waiting for dinner at the Casa del migrantes, migrants shelter, ran by church in Reynosa, a border town between U.S and Mexico.
A group of illegal migrants trying to cross Rio Grande river, the border river river between U.S and Mexico. Some of them had U.S passport before but taken their citizenship away and deported.
Rio Grande river, the border river between U.S and Mexico.

 

Almost paradise

– Illegal migrants’ journey from Colombia to U.S –

Kosuke Okahara’s series “Almost Paradise”, made in 2013, recounts the story of South American, primarily Colombian migrants attempting to reach the USA on risky and difficult routes via Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. In compelling black and white images, Okahara has captured the joys and sufferings of these people without turning them into mere objects for his camera. The book was printed using an unusual process which lends it an appearance reminiscent of intaglio work. In this way it conveys the full drama of disappointed hopes.

Introduction by Roland Angst