Mean streets

The streets of Mexico City are home to thousands of destitute children whose lives are marred by drug addiction, sickness, and abuse by the police. Over a period of 10 years, the photographer Kent Klich has moved among them and captured their lives on film. Words by Jonathan Dyson
hen I finally get hold of Kent Klich on the phone it is Sunday evening in his current home city of Copenhagen. He has just come back from a birthday party with his five-year-old son Felix. They are eating cake and preparing dinner, "having a nice time". It is a long way, in every sense, from the streets of Mexico City where the Swedish-born photographer has spent 10 years, on and off, chronicling the lives and deaths of street children.

Klich originally trained as a psychologist and worked for a time as a social worker with problem children. It's an area he finds himself returning to again and again in his photographic work. "In Mexico City I wanted to try and find out where the children were living, how they were living and what kept them on the streets. My idea of street children was very different from reality. I thought they would all be between 10 and 15, but I found new-born babies, the children of street children - there could be three generations living on the street. I also