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Alex Coghe Photojournalist by Alexcoghe - 1d ago

So, this month:

CDMX

CDMX

BARRIO

BARRIO

CDMX

EDOMEX

BARRIO

BARRIO

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Yesterday on instagram, under the photograph you see,  I read a comment:

“This made me stop scrolling and have good look around the picture. Really awesome! It’s so full of life.”

I think that today in this continous scrolling of social networks, if we achieve to produce something like this also with a person is a good result. But going beyond the comment I think is very interesting how the perception of an image derives for all of us from how much life we absorb both as visual creators and as users of an image.

Even our attitude towards an event shows our attitude and therefore our character.
 
Look at this:
 

On facebook I written: “Yesterday I met this guy at the tianguis. He was holding a meter of crocodile and I couldn’t not photograph it. I asked him how much he would grow up, and he replied that the breed is up to a meter and a half. After taking the picture he asked me if I wanted to keep it in my arm and so I took it. I am a lover of crocodiles, I always liked them, but keeping one in my arms was certainly an experience. Market meetings in Mexico.”

Think about what I did: on the morning I mounted the 28mm on the XPRO2, with the intention to go to the market with the camera, maybe I could find something interesting to photograph. I was there with my wife, and I did have my mobile phone with me. Guess what? I just thought to make the photograph to the guy, while a lot of other people would have thought of being portrayed when the crocodile had them in their arms. Now I have the photograph, but not me posing with the alligator. I think this is a bizarre way to act in these times where anyone seems to be busy to show himself. In the last hours also using an app on facebook showing how they will be when getting older.

We live in an era of inflated ego. Where what matters is to show yourself in front of life. Now I don’t have the photograph of me with the alligator in my arms, and someone maybe can also to doubt that I really had it. Maybe next time I will meet the guy, I will ask to my wife to take a picture. But this is not the point of my speech.
 
I would like you to stop and think how a photographer is afferming himself today, and what is the most important thing.
For example, I’m sorry, but I always have doubts when doing a search by images of a certain photographer instead of seeing his photographs, I see the photographer’s face more. Is he/she a photographer or…a model?
 
You will have understood that for the affirmation of oneself for a photographer it is through his/her photographs. I believe this, also in these influencers epoque.
 
There is a fantastic book from Alec Soth, showing how a work can tell a lot about the photographer, without showing himself but the life of the others, or simply photographing objects, landscapes, etc.:
 
 
 
You can buy the book here:
 
 
Well, in that book it emerges how a poetic of the image can marry the documentary focus. Exactly like THE AMERICANS of Robert Frank, showing images from his trips around America, and later Stephen Shore will do the same. About Alec Soth book Anne Wilkes Tucker said:

“In the book’s forty-six ruthlessly edited pictures, Soth alludes to illness, procreation, race, crime, learning, art, music, death, religion, redemption, politics, and cheap sex.”

In the analysis of what is photographed, certainly comes the consideration on what drives us to photograph and propose certain images:
 
 
In rapid succession, from the bus I was traveling in to get home, I photograph the murals in the Guerrero barrio. Of course, forget the splendid formalism and compositional construction of Soth’s work. The point is always and in any case the intent, which in this case is aimed above all at recording how everyday life is through snapshots that donèt even care about the quality of the image, altered by the reflections and dirt of the window.
 
At this point it emerges a question? Do we photograph always for the others? To make a book or affirming a particular message, or sometimes we simply photograph for ourselves? Sometimes I take picture only to (try to) understand things. While I photograph I analyze myself. And after, at home, in front of my computer, drinking a coffee starts another type of analysis.


 
In the photographic statement (each photo carries a statement with it) an intentionality always emerges. 
And that’s why I leave you with this last shot taken in June. A snapshot that doesn’t tell me much and that I certainly don’t emphasize in my proposal, and what I pretend from my photography. And yet it represents everything I feel far away from today as a photographer.
 
 
I’m brooding and meditating a lot on what I do and where this path is leading me. At the halfway point, with ten years of experience as a photography professional, I expect more from my photography and my writings. Photography and the experiences that photography brings with it inevitably affect my whole life and the changes they produce to me as a person.
 
 
 


 


 
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For the Guelaguetza Photo Expedition Fujifilm Mexico loaned me the Fujifilm XPRO2

Many things are changed from that first contact that you can read by clicking here

First thing: the camera did have an issue with a lens, now fixed. Then I can’t omit the fact my photography has changed. Also I have to say that I worked very little  with camera. In total only for a maximum of 4 hours. Despite this I can say that I love the XPRO2, that I consider a great camera for documenntary/photojournalism. During the short time I worked with it, I made some street shots, and I can say that I love how the camera feels in my hand.

This time I worked with a 35mm lens, while I hope to have time to work with the 18mm lens. Fujifilm XPRO2 confirms to be an easy to use camera, at least for those familiars with the Fujifilm X series system. I like a fact on this camera: it is focused on the things to do. Believe me: this doesn’t happens with any camera. The XPRO2 is perfect for photojournalism and documentary photography: not excessively heavy yet gives you a feeling of solid builded camera which accompanied by an ideal ergonomics making the photographic experience absolutely work-oriented, without distractions.

I used the camera in manual exposition, metering spot. I worked directly in jpg, accommodating it to my aesthetics. One of my priorities from this point of view is getting an organic images as much as possible. On the first images I forgot to “turn off” the sharpness. I don’t like the sharpness of the digital cameras and I prefer to adjust this after in post production. Also the color I lowered it to a minimum:  lower contrast and saturation helps to get a more organic file. I am perfectly aware that modern lenses because of multicoated contribute to create that contrast that I don’t like and it looks digital. In fact for my Pentax I am using an old 50mm lens. My way to think about digital is that  of its incomparable comfort, its speed of image management, but still I’m tied to an idea of making and seeing photography in a certain way. Thanks to Fujifilm X series cameras my way to work is still natural, but I have to adjust some settings in order to obtain my photography as I want.

This is one of the photos where I worked with the sharpness too high. I don’t like too sharp, but I don’t think it can be appreciated on the blog to get what I mean.

Yesterday I was in downtown with my wife to buy shoes and an external hard disk. Clearly my first thing was not making a camera test but I took some shots with the XPRO2: 

I feel that there is still a short time for using the camera, but equally I wanted to offer this review for my readers. Would I recommend this camera? Yes, of course, I would recommend it to myself and to all those documentary photographers willing to work focusing on the work to do. Because this is a work-to-do camera without special effects. Any travel or documentary photographer will love to photograph with XPRO2.
 
You know this is an old camera to review, but my readers know that I am that kind of blogger thinking to SEO or pretending to review perfectly a camera, maybe the last release on the market. I have my trusted audience that knows that my recommendation is reliable. Believe me, XPRO2 is still a camera worth to buy, and the price-quality ratio currently has very few rivals.
 
Fujifilm confirms to be the Leica for those  cannot afford excessive spending, that don’t care about wearing a camera but using it. And be careful with what I say you: today if you are not an inglorious cropper, and you don’t need blow ups in print, between APS-C and Full Frame in digital doesn’t have so much sense. I still would make a difference with film. My way to work is jpg straight from the camera, focused on documentary/photojournalism and I became a photojournalist with an APS-C camera. I never owned a full-frame, except the film cameras that I use.
 
If I could spend 2000 Euro I would buy immediately the XPRO2. I think I have nothing else to add to this review.
 

 

 
 

 

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A bed of green inspires me to photograph. In the middle of the main street of my barrio comes to break the “civilization”. Into the green I can fin d the poetics and the memory. The poetics of the existence allow me to catch memories. I was a kid and in front of the building where my family lived there was an abandoned place, with a ruined house and where the nature had taken over.

My photographic investigation is sensitive to the interactions between the nature and the man-made.

As kids we played to one side of the abandoned property, and sometimes the ball ended up inside. Whoever kicked the ball there had to enter to recover it. It was like an adventure, with the fear of vipers. There was an opening just like that of this photograph.

And my memory ran to those adventures… to diving into the greenery that would not allow you to see anything.
 
That house in the background and the fence are the unique signs of man-made. But  everything communicates to me, the force of nature shaping the landscape, despite the man. And the wild plants make of the territory a free-zone, and an access to the idea of adventure. The escaped from the city into the city or a movement of nature’s rebellion, which probably won’t last much longer. Maybe someone will buy it and it will turn it into a shop, a small supermarket, or a car wash.
 
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Realism is best suited to convey the frightening idiosyncrasies of our time. – Duane Hanson

This is a photograph I made yesterday from a taxi. 1/1000 sec. to be sure to have it blurry free. Aldous Huxley claimed, “the more you know, the more you see” and I believe a lot in this statement. 

The fact is that we read photographs as we read the world around us, a world that is full of values and meanings. A world that will be perceived based on our life experience, the music we listen, the literature we read, the movies we watch. And, of course, the visual imagery feeded by the photography we see and study, with a particular relevance from the one we love and appreciate most.

The perception of things in front of our eyes are previously filtered by our vision, and vision is altered, influenced and formed. 

Each of my street social landscape photos, while documentary at first glance, is conceptualized and composed, also when made by instinct and realized in instants and this is the reason why I chose to propose here a photograph from the car, where there is not time on thinking compositions in a curated manner, creating in fact a cross-media dialogue between snapshot and landscape photograph.

The boudaries of the genres are emphasized by the approach: I questioned a lot myself about photographing sometimes from inside a moving vehicle, because from a bus often the point of view is too distant ( I mean more a metaphysical distance than a real distance) and the risk is about getting a google maps effect. Furthermore, if I photograph from behind a glass reflections or dirt or scratches can make the photograph not good.

These issues can be reduced (from a perceptive point of view) when I make evident that I photographed from a car, like in this example:

Anyway I said to myself tha in photographing these moments, and overall places,  that often go unseen, by including this opportunity on my documentary work increases the effectiveness and also the completeness of my documentation about the American realities, producing at the same time a more evident visual reaserach within the interior landscape, that allows me, through the investigation of the suburbs to explore also inside myself. By including photos made through a vehicle I’m revealing even more about that dichotomy inherent in the photographic act, which also makes subjective the objective representation of objects and events.

As you know I am a documentary photographer, and what I do is a kind of straight photography, with no staged situations or recreated moments, but I question myself about how much truth and how much fiction I obtain from an image, regardless of the type of approach, because in any case the fictional will have always a part in photography.

The Greek philosopher Plato promoted the idea of ultimate truths by advocating his notion of ideal forms. However, Plato believed that man could never tangibly possess ideal forms because such forms could only exist in his mind. And this is pretty interesting to consider because the notion of “reality”  existing only  in the mind is object of the recent studies about our consciousness.

Consciousness is an exquisitely subjective phenomenon which constitutes an inexhaustible reserve of sensations, emotions and ideas and on the other hand represents that “instrumental” entity through which the conscious subject “constructs” his own inner world by interpreting “external” reality. The photographer Cristina de Middel takes up a concept already investigated through his work from Jeff Wall that through the showing a truer “reality” through fiction, we can achieve a perception more effective of reality.

Based on these considerations, I feel even more strongly the need to incorporate my essence and my life, the way of living and therefore to see the world around me, but without artistic cravings on my part, with the knowledge that in any case the act of photographing is a continuous exploration of myself.
 


 
 

 

 
 

 

 
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WITH 80 DAYS LEFT THE AWARD ENTERS ITS HOT PHASE

 
Launched in 2018 to celebrate 5 years of THE STREET PHOTOGRAPHER NOTEBOOK, the only electronic editorial project in the world paying the photographers featured, the TSPN AWARD this year changed the formula, in order to give more opportunities to the participants.
 
The prizes are pretty cool, and photographers don’t have limits on fee purchases in order to obtain more chances to win.
 
Why a photographer should join?
 
– This is a real independent award, aiming to only the best photographs, counting with a jury composed by documentary and street photographers;
– The participation to the award doesn’t spam your inbox;
– The copyrights/usage rights on the images are fair;
– Starting from the 5 Euro Fee the participant will receive a magazine of the same value;
– It is cheap! It starts at 1 Euro and the maximum price is for the series category where you can upload up to 10 photos. We don’t ask you 60 dollars like others;
 
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE GALLERIES:
 
SINGLE CATEGORY

CHECK OUT THE SUBMISSIONS BY CLICKING HERE

SERIES CATEGORY

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READ BEFORE ALL THE RULES:

TSPN AWARD 2019

NOW YOU CAN JOIN THE TSPN 2019 AWARD:

  •  TSPN FEE SINGLE CATEGORY – 1 PHOTO  – €1.00
  •  TSPN FEE SINGLE CATEGORY – UP TO 5 ( (YOU WILL RECEIVE A MAGAZINE ISSUE BY YOUR CHOICE) – €5.00
  •  TSPN FEE SERIES CATEGORY – UP TO 10 PHOTOS (YOU WILL RECEIVE 2 ISSUES OF THE MAGAZINE) – €10.00

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September 2014 was a special month for me. A borderline month in many ways. An extreme month.
A month when I still haven’t understood which forces were bound.
It was a month when I had access to police records. Where I touched the violence of the street, of the gangs, of the rot that waters this place. A month of debauchery and poetry of darkness.
My photography was nourished by lynchian echoes and Japanese drifts.
The monochromatic pushed to the extreme consequences.
September 2014 represented a point of no return, yet I came out of it.
Looking back now at that intimate and personal diary, it appears distant and yet close, because already there one can glimpse visions of things to come.
Thank you for buying this book.
Welcome to the theater of pain.

Print

SEPTEMBER 2014
Product: Matte magazine (Softcover)
Amount of pages: 35 pages
Size: medium (19.5 x 16.8 cm)
Color: full color
Quantity: 1 x
Price:
€ 10.00

GET YOUR COPY TODAY

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ALSO YESTERDAY I READ (ON FACEBOOK) ABOUT THE DENIAL OF FORMAL COMPOSITION IN STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

Maybe is also for this I don’t use anymore the term. And, sincerely, I am making other things.

This image, for example, arises from an absolutely formal mental construction. With the car in motion I waited the right time (someone would speak of decisive moment) in order to have splitted by the pole. The car in my intention represents the junction in a frame divided in 2.

Respect for symmetry plays an important role in the concept of this image. More and more I identify a central point and compose accordingly.
I often find that, for my photographs I call street social landscape, it works well and I achieve dynamism.
 
 
On social networks I read also someone criticizing the habit of drawing lines on photos, but I really don’t care. For a blog like mine, where the focus is sharing my experience and giving informations about how to read an image, breaking down lines is useful.
 
Don’t think to an academic or boring approach. Just think that photography is a way to communicate. And the images need to have a good balancement between form and content. I am not talking about universal rules or aesthetics codes to respect. I am explaining the reasons that led me to photograph and proposing a certain picture.
 
In the management and solving of the structure I can see how this can help a lot in order to understand more of the territory. It is not a formal excuse: it is a way to represent the space in front of me, and this influences, unavoidably, the perception of a given place. With my mind attentive to a study of the urban landscape of suburbs, clearly the attention to construct a narrative also through visual decoding and therefore its aesthetic resolution, it is not only inevitable, but also vital for the essence of my intentions with the projects I am carrying out.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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My most recent writing is inspired from my goal to present the importance of photography from the cultural point of view, and it is an open act of belligerence with respect to photography made at random.

Photographs fill our days, it doesn’t matter if we are or not photographers. But I think most of people are often not aware of how an image should be read. I think this is how someone illiterate leafing through a book with text. The infinite scroll-down on instagram and facebook doesn’t help.

The result is an image fruition often lacking even the slightest knowledge of what a photograph is, of the messages it implies,
both in terms of content and form. And this involves not only people looking at the images, but also those pretending to make photography, coming to include also the curators.
It is clear that the lack of a true visual culture and the absent-minded gaze and without pretense on the images, perhaps influenced by how many likes take a certain photo, produces obvious problems for the whole world of photography, giving a wrong perception of what is good.
 
My continous analysis on this blog and through my writings are focused on giving something more to the photographic audience. Photography is going through a period of great crisis, especially with the market of cameras loosing a lot of customers. And this is exactly the moment where the photography blogs can represent a place and an opportunity to find food for thought and inspiration. An oasis where there is not the race for the likes, but serious reflections and ideas about the image and dissertations on its meanings, what a photograph tries to communicate…
 
 
My self-analysis and the investigations on photography, are focused on giving (I hope) elements to the audience interested really in photography to read if an image has reading keys about politics, social issues, or maybe just a formal attention and intent.
 
On the essay Thoughts out of space and time I analyze how the word is not an annoying guest for photography, but, on the contrary, it can represent an opportunity to understand the value of a photographic work.
 
With the writing COLOR I talk about the importance of finding our palette, in order to define ourselves as photographers.
 
My approach is open. As a photographer. As a writer. As a man of ideas. As a teacher. I don’t believe in strict rules. Strict rules to observe in a religious manner are the killer of our creativity. I think anyone of us can find approachs and forms to make photography. Don’t forget photography is a science, but not an exact science, and most of the times is up to you, about what are your ideas and what you have to say. I don’t believe in gurus. And I don’t believe in tediant sermons.
 

Photography requires study, of course. A lot. of study. but I believe is not the study many think, limiting the speech to the technique. The study must be interdisciplinary. Psychology, history, mathematics, geography, politics, literary, music, cinema, art in general. I know just way to become a real photographer.

And don’t believe to those arguing that a photographer speaks just with his images: all the photographers I admire most and the ones we are used to recognize as masters are first of all men of culture and with a great experience of life.

 
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Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”  Another definition is “a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities…just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.” [source: http://www.kevingreeland.com/blog/2016/7/12/what-is-psychogeography]

Psychogeography is a portmanteau between psychology and geography. The study is focused on our psychological experiences of the city, by revealing forgotten, or marginalised places of the urban environment. Inspired by the French poet Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur, Debord was a founding member of the avant-garde movement Situationist International, an international movement of artists, writers and poets who aimed to break down the barriers between culture and everyday life [source: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/psychogeography ]

“The production of psychogeographical maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions, can contribute to clarifying certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but total insubordination to habitual influences (influences generally categorized as tourism, that popular drug as repugnant as sports or buying on credit).” from Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, Debord 55

Through this introduction we can already understand the importance of the concept in order to use it as an approach for photography. I think is pretty interesting how the more we study photography, the more we realize how much interdisciplinarity is an important part of visual observation. This gives even more importance to photography as a document of observation and study of man, both from a social and anthropological point of view, and from a more purely psychological and ontological point of view.

The idea of “get lost in the city” in fact regards a lot those photographers shooting in the streets of the world. Despite some of them prefer to make planned walks and even making scouting before to photograph a place, I like to explore where my feet go.

 
In psychogeography, a dérive is an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience. source: http://www.kevingreeland.com/blog/2016/7/12/what-is-psychogeography
 
And I would say this dérive is essential if our goal is making different photos and getting a no repetitive point of view of the same city.
A fact is: to make this in Mexico City can be also dangerous. In the same downtown you need to know where to go with your camera and what photographing (and the reason why I offer experiences to foreigner photographers).
 
 
When I went to Cuautepec to take pictures, I was aware of where I was. I don’t know the place that much, so it was a kind of exploration. I have already written about the experience there:
 
 
But the same is happened in a quieter suburb like Lindavista, when I found myself to explore a part where I was never been:
 
 

The purposeful walking has an agenda: in that way we can’t absorb certain aspects of the urban world. This is why the drift is so important to psychogeography. The acting of get lost better connects us to the city.

And this is easily understandable as it is vital for a photographer interested in documenting the reality of urban life.
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 

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