“It’s very easy to photograph people that love to be photographed,” Daniela Rossell explains. For her series Ricas y Famosas (The Rich and the Famous) — Rossell took exuberant portraits of the Mexico’s 1%, specifically the super-rich young female spawn of politicians, businessmen and businessmen-politicians. As evident in the portraits, the girls enjoyed it quite a lot, sprawling dramatically in their opulent homes, resting on tigers and other perfectly reasonable domestic pets, posing next to gilded furniture, and pouting surrounded by pomp and glamor. Then, when the essay went public, many of the Mexican people voiced outrage against these “poster girls for corruption.” The photographer explained: “There has been a melodramatic pattern of saying these women are evil; they represent corruption; they represent 70 years of PRI rule.” Some girl requested to be dropped from the series. Alas, as Slate puts it, “poor little rich girls.” Peek inside their rarefied world through our gallery. … Read More
Award-winning photographer Alinka Echeverría captured a six million man spiritual pilgrimage to the Basílica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. The Catholics journey to the church on the anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531 as seen by a devout, indigenous Mexican named Juan Diego. The story says that her image miraculously appeared on his cloak while he was walking to church on the hill of Tepeyac. Pilgrims gather from all around the country to make the arduous trip and pay homage to the Virgin, asking for favors of healing, love, wealth, and blessings in the afterlife. They walk on foot for days, often with their families, some wearing traditional costumes. The most striking aspect of the journey are the images of the Virgin pilgrims carry on their backs: statues, blankets, paintings, and even entire altars encased in glass. Echeverría is interested in exploring “the relationship between image and belief, and the power of iconic images from an anthropological perspective.” She tries to understand why “images are needed at a psychological level in order to believe and how they have been used throughout history at collective level to instill or evoke faith in religious or political beliefs.” See the artist’s moving series, The Road to Tepeyac, in our gallery after the break. Pick up a copy of Echeverría’s HSBC Prix pour la Photographie book over here. … Read More
In Alejandro Cartagena’s series Suburbia Mexicana: Fragmented Cities, colorful cookie cutter homes — that remind us ominously of the town in Edward Scissorhands — rise up in front of gorgeous landscapes, but remain themselves completely desolate, blank spaces nestled in natural beauty. The Monterrey-based photographer has been documenting the new growth of suburbs in the area for years in a project that aims to shed light on contradictory government policies that he believes have placed the financial priorities of developers “over the well being of the community, with roadways, parks and proper public transport systems standing far from becoming a reality.” The photos are strange and lovely, the rows of houses like ghost towns that manage to be futuristic and out of date all at once. Click through to see some of our favorite shots, and then be sure to head over to his website to check out more of his work. … Read More
What does your morning commute look like? Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena, whose work we spotted over at Visual News, offers a fascinating look at the morning rides of many Mexican workers, in a series that has us scouring the photos, analyzing all of the tools they take with them and wondering what they did last night. Leaning over overpasses near his home in Monterrey, Cartagena captures glimpses of a secret world only visible from above, as workers catch up on sleep, chat, or daydream in the back of pickup trucks on their way to jobs in construction, landscaping, and other outdoor jobs. Cartagena is widely celebrated for photography that delves into social, environmental, and urban issues, so when you’re done peeping at the carpoolers after the jump, head on over to his website to see even more of his great work. … Read More
As we celebrate Mexican heritage on this Cindo de Mayo, let’s survey this season’s key photography exhibit: Photography in Mexico: Selected Works from the Collections of SFMOMA and Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, on view through July 8. The wide and engaging selection of 150 works from 1920s to the present includes both important Mexican photographers and inspired international artists.
“There is no one ‘Mexican photography,’ but one strand that runs throughout is a synthesis of aesthetics and politics,” curator Jessica McDonalds explains. “We see that with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and we still see it in work made decades later.” From Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s definitive, surrealistic work in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, through the mid-20th-century photojournalist documentation of Mexican life and the changing urban politics and culture in the ’60s and ’70s, including the emergence of critical theory and art photography, to the present day and meditations on the current issues particular to the U.S.-Mexico border region, this strand holds strong. Check out the slideshow of works from the exhibit, from Lourdes Grobet’s ’80s luchadores in full glory, to Graciela Iturbide’s Oaxacan woman with a crown of taxidermied iguanas, to Oscar Fernando Gómez’s contemporary series from the window of his cab. … Read More
A solo show in the Mexican Pavilion is the unanimous nominee for darkest work included in the vast 2009 Venice Biennale. On view until November 22, Teresa Margolles’s ¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar? (What Else Could We Talk About?) comments on the political division and rampant drug-related violence in Mexico. The artist’s own experience as a founding member of the group SEMEFO (Forensic Medical Service) allowed access to government morgues, allowing her to develop conceptual, social-based art using bodily substances.Disturbing, perhaps, though genuinely thought-provoking. Details on the Mexican Pavilion after the jump, including video.… Read More
If you’ve so much as glanced at a newspaper or website over the past week, you’re at least marginally aware of swine flu, the maybe-pandemic that has quickly dethroned Somali pirates as the best reason to follow the news.
Over the past week, cases of the disease have been disclosed the world over, from Scotland to Peru to California. Mexico, where the illness was reported to have killed 152 people — though some say the number is as low as seven — is the flu’s undisputed epicenter. Wired reports that its spread may have begun in the town of La Gloria, not far from a “large and notoriously unsanitary hog farm” run by Granjas Carroll, a division of American conglomerate Smithfield Foods. … Read More
Less than a week ago, USA Today published an article about the proliferation of Mexican drug-cartel videos on YouTube, claiming that, like Jihadis and insurgents before them, narcocorridos now use the popular website to promote their cause. (Cartel leaders openly ran an ad campaign last year to recruit military deserters, so it’s not as if they’re shy about showing off.) … Read More