Hugues stories: Alejandro Cartagena. Life through his own lens
Alejandro lives and works in Mexico from where he travels across the globe to create his photography projects. Alejandro focuses on landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of several museums including the SFMOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine arts Houston, the Portland Museum of Art, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio, Brazil, the Fototeca de Nuevo Leon, Mexico and the Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca, Mexico.
H. You are a photographer. What makes the perfect picture for Alejandro?
As I work more and more on my projects I have found myself in love with the imperfect picture and in love with the collision of many images to create the perfect story.
H. How did it all start?
I started to think of photography as something I wanted to do after a couple of workshops. The images I saw were out of this world to me and that really excited me. It seemed that photography was about visualizing ideas, things that troubled you, and that made me just want to drop everything I was doing at that moment. So I did. I quit my job and started taking pictures. That was 12 years ago. Now it is all I do.
H. When did you understand this was going to be your profession?
Once I started doing projects and seeing how people reacted to them I felt there was something there that I was good at. I just kept on going. My first work was about self exploration, looking inwards. I eventually grew out of that and started to capture the world around me and how that space was making me into who I am and would be. The city became a source of inspiration, love and hate.
H. What is photography for you, and who inspires you?
Photography for me right now is a means to an end. It is the possibility to create stories and suggest new histories. I use the book for as something that empowers the regular citizen to present other options of how to remember the world we live in. The power to publish is the power to shape our past and present and I love the possibilities of this.
H. You have a varied portfolio. Who is Alejandro?
I photograph many things because there is much to be said. Style is part of the works but not the main idea. So I change they way I work all the time. I need to be excited not fulfilling expectations of this or that style.
H. Who would you like to work with and what are your plans for the future
As an artist I would love to work with publishers from other countries and see how our cultural ideas collide into interesting books. I would also love to publish at some point other peoples work. I think this is a dream I am working towards to.
H. Our usual questions..: Favourite corner of your city, holiday destination and the book everyone must read
I really like the food at La Divina in the old city courter in downtown Monterrey. I absolutely adore Holbox island in souther Mexico. The book that everyone should read is "Of Love and Other Demons" by colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.