Marcelo Perez del Carpio

2012 Highly Commended


A Dreadful Situation

Bolivia is going through a serious crisis in the treatment and control of unidentified corpses “NN” coming from crimes, accidents and other violent events. The National Forensic Research Institute (IDIF) is in charge of the forensic analysis and identification of mortal remains. But IDIF has nor the minimum basic resources neither an own infrastructure to work, that´s why it shares the public hospitals morgues and grounds. In La Paz, the crime morgue is a small-improvised room, located next to the medical waste storage room of the General Hospital. Its infrastructure is precarious and appalling; does not have any air ventilation system or cold chambers. Although the weather in La Paz is usually cold, the sanitary conditions and the smell force the personnel to work in the waste storage room. About thirty autopsies are carried out per week; a third of them are NN and 70% come from El Alto. All the corpses remain on the ground for months until they are buried in a common grave.

In 2012, a formal complaint argued the crime morgue was an environmental threat for the entire hospital population. Several corpses were incinerated and the place was about to be closed… now its situation is uncertain.

About the Photographer

Marcelo Pérez del Carpio (29) was born in La Paz, Bolivia and grew up in Venezuela. In 1999 he went back to his country to study architecture. He started studying photography in 2003. In 2005, he won the 1st prize of the National Competition “Fotopasión”, which allowed him to attended to the 17th Visa pour L’Image festival in France. In 2007, he had a portfolio review with Christopher Anderson (Magnum Photos) in Venezuela. In 2011, he was selected to participate of “Trasatlántica’s” portfolio reviews organized by PHotoEspaña. He also had portfolio reviews with Isabel Muñoz, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto and Andreas Rost. Recently, he was nominated for the World Press Photo´s Joop Swart Masterclass.

Nowadays, he is collaborating as a freelance with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Bolivia and the Bolivian Press Agency AFKA.

Based in La Paz, his work focuses on documentary, photojournalism and architectural photography.