21.5 X 33.5 cm
“Carpoolers is a deceptively powerful photobook, so well constructed that we’re suddenly eager to see more of Carpoolers remains a highly critical and vital body of work in which we may dissect capitalism, labor, and urban expansion in the first decades of the Twenty-First Century. This fourth volume of Carpoolers is entirely different from proceeding volumes. The emphasis of the book’s various volumes is in their interchangeability, their constant re-appraisal of Monterrey, and their illustration in this case of what is at the heart of Cartagena’s dialogue: the Mexican people themselves”. –– From the essay by Brad Feuerhelm for Carpoolers #4
Soft Cover in box
16.5 x 24 cm
Almost daily between 1993 and 2004, Alejandro Cartagena would commute on a suburban bus from Monterrey to the suburban city of Juarez and back. Working at his family’s restaurant, he watched the gradual changes happening in Juarez. Between 2000 and 2005, the city went from a population of 66,000 to 144,000. He watched Juarez be eaten up, all through the window of the bus.
On those trips, he read, fell asleep, daydreamed of owning a car, and lamented being stuck in this metal creature in the 40-degree heat of northern Mexico. 12 years later, and now a photographer, he decided to take the bus once again to capture the experience thousands of blue-collar suburbanites have every day. What he saw made him reencounter the unintended mental and physical anxieties produced by the unplanned urban development. This book is a story about people wanting a better life in a city characterized by lack; the lack of proper roads, the lack of enough buses, the lack of security inside the buses. Furthermore, 91.6% percent of women experienced sexual assault at least once while traveling on public transport in the Monterrey Area.
“The precarious situation of public transportation, and of mobility in general, remains ultra-underrepresented in public debate, as a matter condemned to languish on many public ‘to do’ lists. This means that the work of Alejandro Cartagena takes on specific political importance in making visible the costs of this inaction on the quality of life of people living in the Metropolitan Area of Monterrey”. –– Ximena Peredo
23 X 31 cm
First edition published by Studio Cartagena
The looting, the destruction, the deadly violence. President Donald Trump was right: Insurrection IS upon us…
22 X 33 cm
“Many people died that day. I wanted to say something about it, but it was emotionally overwhelming. Then I realised that I could use the buildings covered in black as involuntary signs of mourning. Many of them had been damaged by the earthquake, while others were new buildings being developed through shady agreements. With Undercover I seek to cast light on this issue of systemic corruption in Mexico City”. — Onnis Luque
On the 19.9.17, an earthquake measuring 7.1 occurred near Mexico City. A number of buildings in the capital were destroyed and at least 200 fatalities have been reported to date. Remarkably, the event happened exactly on the 32nd anniversary of the devastating magnitude 8.1 Mexico City earthquake of 1985.
Journalist’s investigations into the disaster revealed that many of the buildings affected had been built to improper standards. The corruption between the state and the property companies was found to have caused multiple unnecessary deaths. As a photographer and architect Onnis Luque wanted to address these events in his work. Having lived through both earthquakes inspired him to create a visual metaphor on the uncertainty that these tragedies produce.
19 x 25.4
Between 2017 and 2019 Julia Gaisbacher has been documenting and analyzing, in her cross-media cycle One Day You Will Miss Me, the processes of transformation in Belgrade sparked by the massive real-estate project Belgrade Waterfront. Her photographs are at the heart of her spatial surveys and her sociocultural research.
Alongside the comprehensive overview of Julia Gaisbacher’s photographs in the series, the eponymous publication compiles five texts in German and English. Six authors contribute a broad spectrum of perspectives on Gaisbacher’s work: Elke Krasny, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, curator, and cultural theorist; Barbi Marković, writer; Dubravka Sekulić, Belgrade architect, teaching as a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art, London; Jovana Timotijević, sociopolitical activist from Belgrade; Iva Čukić, spatial planner and activist from Belgrade; and Reinhard Braun, artistic director and publisher, Camera Austria. The renowned Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena conceptualized the sequence of images.
18 X 27.5 cm
Order here (coming soon)
“Some of the most vivid and exciting memories from my childhood happened along the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo National Highway. As a young girl, my family and I drove through it to go to school, and on weekends we would drive its entirety from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo on the west coast of Mexico. The things that I would notice along this Highway were not just ordinary roadside travel stops like for most people. Instead, these places became the most revered spaces of the trip, exhibiting an array of curiosities as a type of extended outdoor linear museum”. Melba Arellano
30.5 x 41 cm
“What he found were landscapes in varying states of degradation. Two decades of rapid urbanization has caused extensive damage already: many rivers are drying out and filling up with trash and contaminants. Some have been dammed and rerouted, their dry beds used for everything from soccer fields to flea markets to parking lots. Ever since Hurricane Alex passed through in the summer of 2010 (after these photographs were taken) and washed out the riverbeds, such uses have been prohibited. But so far there has been little real focus on restoration of the rivers; as Cartagena puts it, most regulation to date aims largely “to limit the rivers’ power to destroy the urban structures around them.” Lost Rivers depicts places poised between loss and beauty, acknowledging the price of urbanization while seeking to reclaim a sense of connection with these natural spaces”. — Aaron Rothman
Our Guide Vol. I
The Inauguration Vol. II
Music for the Masses Vol. III
The Supervisors Vol. IV
Rituals of Love Vol. V
For our Children Vol. VI
17 x 23 cm
40 – 112 pages
Texts by Ximena Peredo
Había una vez, una ilusión. Un hombre era capaz de llevar a un pueblo, su pueblo, hacia el progreso (otra ilusión). Sus corazonadas personales bastaron para definir el curso de la historia de reinados y naciones. Aquel hombre tenía suficiente poder para imponer su voluntad. Era capaz de hacer historia representando al superhéroe, el ungido, la máxima autoridad en la Tierra. ¿Cómo fuimos/somos capaces de creer en esto? -Ximena Peredo
26 X 13 cm
A continuation to the “Photographic Structures” project.
Softcover, perfect bound
15.2 X 22.8 cm
“The narrative progressively offers us all the elements to suggest what it will mean to own an American house in Mexico. It’s a timely work started before the biggest property crisis of all time. It’s a smart way to show what’s going on starting from facts. The causes and effects of a certain approach to capitalism, and its consequences on people and the environment. A behind the scenes look at the American Dream served with Tacos’ sauce that leaves us with a bittersweet question: does all of this make sense?”. — Giuseppe Oliverio
“It is difficult to pinpoint A Small Guide to Homeownership’s modus operandi. The work is in the form of a journey, but one that is more of a nebula than a linear progression. As a result, we are given no answers to questions that might be raised, nor are we shown a specific way of seeing, only a topic and its many tentacles. Numerous questions circulate and compete: Are we chasing the wrong dream? Have the suburbs failed in Mexico? Are we building a ‘new’ Mexico? Not all treaties, which begin with ponderings, must end with answers. Through an information overload, Cartagena makes visible a modern crisis, and the constant anxiety that exists as its background noise. Like a conductor, he uses his images as the highs and lows, a way to both soothe and extend the perplexing feeling of a heart beating too fast, of a room made small with clutter”. — Kyler Zeleny for Photo Eye
This book is an amalgamation of 13 years of work, starting with Fragmented Cities series made between 2005 and 2009 in which I documented the suburbanization of the Monterrey metro area in northern Mexico. This project began an exploration that led me to document the changes that this development brought to the city; from transportation, urban planning, infrastructure development, private and public bureaucracy, the challenges in people’s daily life to the ecological consequences of this unplanned growth.
12.5 X 16 cm
“Because the female nude is classically considered a pillar in refined culture, particularly when portrayed in oil paintings, producers such as Guillermo Calderón came to the conclusion that “high art” simulacrum was the ideal cliché to rely on in order to boost ticket sales without losing mainstream consumers. As seen from a western standpoint, art history dictates that a woman’s body is not to be represented as naked or active in sexual pleasure if it is to hang from respectable walls. The same rule applied to cinema at the time, explaining why a variety of fictional male painters and their attractive models were eagerly written into corny scripts”. — Ana Cadena Payton
23.5 X 33 cm
“Alejandro’s pictures in this project, since the beginning, have channeled that fear of fire, the engulfing heat, the insatiable flames, devouring everyone and everything, leaving charred scars behind…So what now? If Alejandro can see the future? How is this book, the last in the trilogy, different and new? Well, it’s confident in its bleak outlook”. — From the introduction for the book by Jonathan Blaustein
17 X 23 cm
Everything was wonderful. In these photographs, you’ll notice a palpable beauty, healthy bodies, nice clothes, exquisite hairstyles, you might smell a well-matched perfume. The context is one of economic bonanza. Healthy, erect; these workers model the best employees: tense, but obedient; frightened, but with their lives resolved — what André Gorz sums up in his sentence: “To lose one’s life to gain a living”. — Ximena Peredo
Clara de Tezanos
Hardcover with spiral
22 x 15.5 cm
“It’s something that you can really turn yourself over to the visual experience of, which is pretty engrossing, and feels fresh and distinctive, and like something I hadn’t seen before”
Kristen Lubben from Magnum Foundation
“Piedra-Padre, Universo is a mystic visual journey that touches on concepts about family heritage and memory. Clara de Tezanos approaches her family’s story, not with a linear narrative, but combining family photographs, objects, patterns, and nature, creating visually coded layers to the viewer to interpret freely. The book design is as organic as the delivery of her images. The edit is dynamic and unpredictable, always keeping us in awe”.
Veronica Sanchis from FotoFeminas
“Some kind of magical book of revelation that sucked me into a weird, parallel universe. A family story, dream book, peculiar guide, a handbook of black magic, strange soothing and anxiety”.
Aperture Foundation Book Awards París, Francia.
Grupo Sur Madrid, España.
Los Ángeles, Estados Unidos.
PHmuseum Online Platform.
Griffin Museum of Photography Estados Unidos.
Nueva York, Estados Unidos.
Por Julio Serrano Echeverría Agencia Ocote
Shortlist Announced Fine Books Magazine
The Photobook Review Magazine Fall 2018
19.6 X 26.6 cm
“The smart thing about Los Sumergidos is the way these images of nights, roads, red lights, and tired faces link to the images we already have in our heads. And then we project characters (Teresa, her mother Luisa, her absent father) and narratives onto the people we see and the story takes shape. The introductory text helps with this (the journal text less so) as do the multiple narrative strands. All things are possible in Los Sumergidos for Teresa, it’s just that some things are more possible than others. And that’s what the pictures tell us”. — Colin Pantall for the Photographic Museum of Humanity
19 X 30 cm
“Carpoolers is a deceptively powerful photobook, so well constructed that we’re suddenly eager to see more of something we had previously ignored”. — Loring Knoblauch for Collector Daily
Softcover, hot melt
11.5 X 16.5 cm
The deliberate use of merchandising strategies in presidential campaigns and governmental communications have in the past decade sought out ways to close the gap between the people and their candidates or government officials. The epitome of such strategies can be found in one section of the official web site of the Mexican presidency entitled “My picture with the President”. Now six years into his devastating presidency, it seems clear that the only thing president Enrique Peña Nieto has been interested in all along was looking his best with his fans.
29.5 X 30 cm
“Space is the new arena for political debate. Within space, disagreement takes shape and ideologies, authoritarianism and democracy come to life. Its importance does not lie on a post-colonial kind of control over land, but on the fact that it creates, or rather recreates, certain links. As a result, rather than referring to a location that we can pinpoint with coordinates or to the concept of location, space, as Henri Lefebvre puts it, is a three-dimensional entity, it is concrete matter –here- and it is an idea – what here means-, but, above all, it is a social practice – what I do here. Thus, when talking about conflicts over a certain space there is much more than a mere fight over a piece of land. Deep down, disagreements are based on the type of link that we want to create with a certain place. In that sense, by defending a certain space we are exercising our right to create realities”. — Ximena Peredo
3000 copies given away during the FEMSA Bienal 2016 as part ofthe exhibition “Poéticas del decrecimiento. ¿Cómo vivir mejor con menos?”.
Softcover in box
23 X 30 cm
”It’s a great book in which you’re immersed in a full range of different images from different sources. There’s also the sense that the books Cartagena makes, as well as being works in themselves, are also punctuation marks in a larger body of work that he’s already semi-visualising in his photobooks, that the books, though great, are just a stepping stone to some huge installation that will one day take up a couple of floors of one of the world’s major museums. There’s a feeling that the book isn’t everything, that the book is just the beginning”. — Colin Pantall
14 X 21 cm
“In A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption, urban infrastructure is a gear of political power. Its aim is to conquer the territory of the city and hold dominion over certain city relationships. Public space is more than just a polygon delineated by coordinates, it is a factory of social realities. There would be nothing problematic about this power if it weren’t exclusive. Those who build the city exercise a regulatory power over our mindset and our everyday experience. The rhythms that regulate our hours, “our place” in society and the type of roads we take on our daily commute are manifestations of this control”. — Ximena Peredo
23.5 X 33 cm
“Alejandro’s second volume, Santa Barbara Shame on US of the Santa Barbara series is a continuation, not a re-mix of the first edition published last year. It is solid. It implies horror and the crumbling cake of Americana…”. — Brad Feuerhelm for Photobookstore books of 2017
15 x 27 cm
“Most of the conflicts over space have to do with fighting over a certain right to generate incomes, or simply put, the right to make business, in opposition to the right of well dwelling. This tension has been growing during the last 40 years, especially in those countries or cities where the government bases its policies on accumulation by dispossession, which, in the words of the geographer David Harvey, “has always been a profoundly geographical affair”. Accumulation by dispossession, as the geographer himself explains, is a verifiable practice when it comes to the privatization of public spaces, common resources –such as natural resources- or knowledge, community property, among others. He even labels neoliberalism as a “creative destruction” in the sense that its predominance is based on its ability to destroy, with the support of the government, in order to create new businesses. Deep down, it is the same logic used in war economy, but instead it uses our cities as battlefields”. — Ximena Peredo
Obras is an archive project zine published for the XII FEMSA Bienal. Obras explores the need politicians have to document their use of public resources in infrastructure.
23.5 X 33 cm
“…Through this narrative Cartagena conjures the sense of a place, which has the air of an ambiguous borderland, a porous place where culture and people flow. Whether it is between north or south, or past and present, is difficult to say. It is a place where the idea of concrete identities, nationalities and strictly delineated borders seem like a nostalgic dream or a relicfrom the past superseded by a new and very different reality – a place where the topography is treacherous, the present uncertain, and the future, even more so”. — Lewis Bush for 1000 Words
16.5 X 26 cm
Alejandro Cartagena has spent a lot of time in photographic archives. He is a master of locating great images that he sequences in books for poetic and insightful juxtapositions. VSW invited Alejandro to be our 2017 Rick McKee Hock Artist-in-Residence. We wanted to support his work and we were curious what he, as a Mexican artist, thought of throngs of people in the USA voting for the idea of building a border wall between our countries. His generous and pointed response, A Small Make Believe Neighborhood, is a multi-generational story with a child’s sense of wonder and acceptance of all kinds of people and ideas. It makes a direct invitation to the reader to join in the colorful, playful, endlessly diverse neighborhood of the world. — Visual Studies Press
19 X 30 cm
“It’s useless to comment now on the impact that this series by Alejandro had last year and how effective his neutral approach to the subject was. In the book (brilliantly designed by him, by the way) he leaves some room to certain aspects that might have gotten lost in the transition from the camera to the wall, and that is why this book is great! The hypnotic repetitive beginning, respectful to the series as we’ve known it so far, slowly gets more and more interrupted by frames and pieces of frames that drive you into a new kind of hypnotic state but this time almost as if you were inside the car yourself looking at and experiencing the road not from above anymore”. — Cristina de Middel for Best Books of 2014 Photoeye
Booklets in box
23.5 X 30 cm
“Ultimately, Before the War visualizes the confusion and the sense of defenselessness that was spread throughout the country during the war in a very powerful way. Without showing us the actual atrocities that have happened in the country, Cartagena describes these feelings and actions without excess – and the reader is required to be involved beyond simply turning pages of a book”. — Rachel Morón for GUP Magazine
12.7 X 15.2 cm
In Headshots, Alejandro Cartagena mimics the idea of Hollywood actors trying to secure a casting through their set of headshots. Here, the then President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, is presenting himself for the first time as the official candidate for the PRI party at the International Book Fair of Guadalajara. To say the least, his “performance” was a poor one. He tries to win over the crowd with his looks and best posses but his lack of knowledge of his favorite books surpassed any gain his acting could give. In the back of the 28 prints you can find some of Peña Nieto´s promises of how he was going to change Mexico. The poster child for the new PRI, ended up leading the country into more chaos and social unrest.
Booklets in box
23.5 X 30 cm
“In terms of book form, “Before the War” is not one cohesive “book” but rather a splintering of signatures, a splintering of narrative; a book broken up into pieces with an equally disjointed story. The photographs within are suggestive of the people and places affected by the drug war in Mexico. Yet the more information we are presented with, the less we seem to understand. This experience parallels the confusion of citizens living amongst it. Cartagena adds his perspective and leaves us questioning; What do we truly know? Who do we believe? What is really going on?”. — Larissa Leclair for TIME
22 X 33.5 cm
These 5 books are the remnants of the printing process of the first edition of the Carpoolers book. I have saved them and offer them now as 5 unique works. They offer a link to the 3 editions of the Carpoolers and a visual decomposition of one of my favorite projects.
22 X 33.5 cm
”It’s useless to comment now on the impact that this series by Alejandro had last year and how effective his neutral approach to the subject was. In the book (brilliantly designed by him, by the way) he leaves some room to certain aspects that might have gotten lost in the transition from the camera to the wall, and that is why this book is great! The hypnotic repetitive beginning, respectful to the series as we’ve known it so far, slowly gets more and more interrupted by frames and pieces of frames that drive you into a new kind of hypnotic state but this time almost as if you were inside the car yourself looking at and experiencing the road not from above anymore”. — Cristina de Middel for Best Books of 2014 Photoeye
23.5 X 29 cm
Alejandro Cartagena photographs the particularities of the suburbs of Monterrey, Mexico, which are relatively new and often hastily built, reflecting a general disregard for planning. Over the years, various governmental policies have resulted in new, decentralized cities with limited infrastructures, where the pursuit of immediate financial gain trumps any interest in sustainability. Cartagena captures both the destruction that rapid urbanization has imposed on the landscape and the phenomenon of densely packed housing. Pictures of dried-up riverbeds attest to the water misallocation and depletion brought about by the construction, and Cartagena depicts perpetual rows of tiny houses slicing directly into the foothills of the picturesque mountains that surround Monterrey. Only the landscape appears capable of limiting their proliferation: the mountains and rivers seem the only forces able of containing the suburban sprawl.
Ultimately, Cartagena documents the chaos and destruction that result from scant or misguided urban planning. He lives in downtown Monterrey, and he cares deeply about its land, its people, and its future. Understanding that overdevelopment is not just a local problem, he works hard as an artist to share his photographs as one clear plea for responsible, sustainable development in a rapidly changing world. — Text adapted from the Introduction by Karen Irvine, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago. Co-published with Photolucida.
13 X 16 cm
“…con esta valoración y documentación del espacio doméstico, Cartagena hace sentir como verdadera una vida que a veces pareciera ilusoria. Lanza a los espectadores el cuestionamiento de aspectos universalmente aceptados sobre el núcleo al cual pertenecemos y nuestra también necesidad de recrear una memoria personal y colectiva”. — Marcela Torres
16.5 X 21.5 cm
“The main value of the images is to reveal how people make efforts to adapt to their environment; even if the physical traits can give a certain number of identifying guidelines, the prevalent aspect in the present volume is the way in which the representations allow to study the manner in which the inhabitants of Nuevo León wander and try to integrate themselves with their surroundings”. — José Luis Solís