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2017 Best Books: Alejandro Cartagena


Books Alejandro Cartagena: 2017 Best Books Alejandro Cartagena Selects Zona, Bleu, and Mexico 1986-2016 as the Best Books of 2017
Alejandro Cartagena
Alejandro Cartagena, Mexican (b. 1977, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. His projects employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally in more than 50 group and individual exhibitions in spaces including the the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris and the CCCB in Barcelona, and his work is in the collections of several museums, including the San Francisco MOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Portland Museum of Art, The West Collection, the Coppel collection, the FEMSA collection, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the George Eastman House and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and among others.

Alejandro is a self-publisher and co-editor and has created several award winning titles, including Santa Barbara Shame on US, A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption, Rivers of Power, Santa Barbara Return Jobs to US, Headshots, Before the War, Carpoolers, and Suburbia Mexicana. Some of his books are in the Yale University Library, the Tate Britain, the 10×10 Photobooks book collections among others.

Cartagena has received several awards including the international Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Street Photography Award in London Photo Festival, the Lente Latino Award in Chile, the Premio IILA-FotoGrafia Award in Rome and the Salon de la Fotografia of Fototeca de Nuevo Leon in Mexico among others. He has been named an International Discoveries of the FotoFest festival, a FOAM magazine TALENT and an Emerging photographer of PDN magazine. He has also been a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio Award and has been nominated for the Santa Fe Photography Prize, the Prix Pictet Prize, the Photoespaña Descubrimientos Award and the FOAM Paul Huff Award. His work has been published internationally in magazines and newspapers such as Newsweek, Nowness, Domus, the Financial Times, the New York Times, Le Monde, Stern, PDN, The New Yorker, and Wallpaper among others. He is represented by Patricia Conde Gallery.

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Zona By Fábio Cunha.
PHREE/PSV/Docfield/UCA, 2017.
 
Zona
Photographs by Fábio Cunha

In Zona, Fábio creates two separate layers of meaning that collide in a beautiful book poem. On one part the visual repetitions and similarities make the flow of the book feel almost romantic in a way. On the other layer, there is the sense of the aftermath of a crisis that bent a country and a continent. We are assured that things are not simple and that there are still remnants of what our politicians deem as the best possible course for a nation. Hardship is turned into a visual and physical motive that, with little information, suggests a bigger picture of the painful economic reality of many Europeans.

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Zona By Fábio Cunha. PHREE/PSV/Docfield/UCA, 2017.

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Bleu By Alix Marie. Morel Books, 2017.
 
Bleu
Photographs by Alix Marie

Bleu has me coming back to it over and over again. It is not about what I can understand of it but what it makes me feel, and that is just a mix of things; fragility, disgust, curiosity, sexiness, strangeness, anxiety and many more things. I think it´s this viscerality and entanglement of sensations that never lets you go. You want to come back to try and find peace. But there is no peace in this book. It feels like we are no more than just pieces of flesh, dehumanized and twisted. A gross book that makes you feel alive.

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Bleu By Fábio Cunha Morel Books, 2017.

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Mexico 1986-2016: Antoine D'Agata 
By Antoine D'Agata. RM, 2017.
 
Mexico 1986-2016:
Antoine D'Agata

Photographs by Antoine D'Agata
 
My main attraction to this book comes from the passing of time and how photographs depict such a thing. Mexico is not same Mexico from 1986. We´ve lived through wars, corruption, "change," and looped back to a barbaric time when the human beings have been pushed to their limits. The recent present seems less romantic and grimmer from the first images of the book. Bodies twist and coil and blood runs free to create a stark reality of a country that is continuously in pain. A cockfight on the cover is a great way to summarize the book; there will be a winner and there will be a loser, life and death, celebration and sadness. A series of personal trips and moments through time that creates a vision that ultimately reflects our Mexican reality.

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Mexico 1986-2016: Antoine D'Agata By Antoine D'Agata. RM, 2017.

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