On the plane home from a week in Mexico City, I wrote a bunch of hyperbole about how fantastic a place it is for a (street) photographer, and droned on about how the Distrito Federal is completely futuristic as long as you see the future as a chaotic reinterpretation of the best and worst of the 80s; crowded (even when empty), flashy (even while subdued), polluted, infinite, and fantastically fearsome. A new kind of beauty’s erupting down there to be sure.
I don’t mean fearsome in the sense that danger lurks around every corner, which may be the truth and I’m not that sharp, or it’s not the truth and everyone’s been basing their view of Mexico City from multiple late-night viewings of Amores Perros.
The city is fearsome in the sense that it’s a great challenger. If you randomly drew a city to photograph out of a hat and pulled out Mexico City, you might want to train a bit. Do some push-ups, a little sparring. When DF hits, it hits hard.
I’ll get around writing a few more words about it, but for now, I can’t understand why one of the world’s biggest, most vibrant, colorful and headachingly complex cities has been so unphotographed by Americans or Europeans. There are exceptions, of course, but my impression is that DF isn’t even a consideration for most photographers. Mexicans have been addressing it forever, of course. One of the most interesting photo books I’ve ever seen is just that – 200 photographers (not all were Mexican) on DF and it’s nearly 800 pages. Check the exhibit based on the book here, and the book’s seemingly defunct site here.
There are a thousand answers to “why go there?” and I hope to write down a few in posts to come. That said, if you’re remotely interested in an organized photography (and language) workshop in DF (and you should be, you really should be!) please leave a comment so a friend of 2point8 can write your name down and start a list and get in touch.
More soon. Glad to have gone – glad to be back.