In this photo story, I want to show the city where I was born and grew up. Bogota, the capital of Colombia, has a population of about 9 million. I wanted to show the everyday life, the chaos and more through my camera lens.
Street signs, people, contrasts and reflections, things that aren’t noticeable, are my main source of inspiration in this photo series, without leaving aside the streets and buildings that represent all Bogotanian history.
Glances, silhouettes, movements and perspectives reflect a city full of life and contrasts where photography is an important part of a citizen’s memory.
The Bogota Series took me a year and a half – taking photographs one or two per week, walking downtown, meeting people and looking for new places. In this project, I focused on the most characteristic neighborhood in Bogota, Downtown (Santa Fe locality). I didn’t have any obstacles during the project, everyone was kind but sometimes I had to shoot from the hips because I wanted to show reality and avoid any fear that people may have about the camera.
In this project, I worked with a Canon 5d Mark 1with a 50mm 1.8 lens and Fujifilm XT1 with 18-55 mm lens. I choose Fuji because of the size and weight. Post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom where I wanted to add emphasis on color and shadows in some of the photos, without leaving behind the classic look of black and white.
The experience with this project was awesome because I had to explore my city deeply. I found many places that I’ve never seen in my life. I had the opportunity to meet new people and share ideas about our city.
The amount of people in the city presents a huge problem for transportation. There is only one company of buses responsible for carrying commuters to their jobs and homes but the service doesn’t have enough capacity, making users have to wait a long time to arrive at their destinations.
Another big problem in Bogota is the high demand of cars. In 2014 the number was about 1,492,483. This represents the poor quality of life and the high levels of stress and accidents Bogotanians experience every day.
This photo shows the typical market in Downtown Bogota that is known to be a famous flea market. Every weekend citizens and tourists visit the place to buy antiques clothes, toys, music and electronic devices of all types. This market started 33 years ago with only a few sellers in Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo and after that it was relocated to other places in the city due to a new law passed by the mayor in 1983.
In this photo a vendor from the flea market enjoys a cigarette while he watches people walk on the street.
This photo was taken close to Jimenez Avenue, one of the most crowded and beautiful streets in Downtown Bogota that resembles the beginning of 20th century. These streets were the scene of the most important event in the history of Bogota: “El Bogotazo”, where the politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan was killed in 1948.
In this photo, a commuter in Jimenez Avenue, is surrounded by a lot of street vendors.
This seems to be a scene from small time drug deal, then a policeman approached the man in the photo and me because he saw that I was giving him a bill. Behind this photo of a homeless man who is being checked by a policeman, there is a story of a hungry man. He told me that he needed money to buy donuts. Instead of giving him some coins, I decided to give him the amount that he needed. Unfortunately, this transaction was seen by a police officer.
Bogota as the capital of Colombia is the center of the country’s economy and is the most populated city. Therefore, you can see people from other Colombian cities such as: Barranquilla, Cartagena, Medellin and Bucaramanga living in Bogota.
In this photo, a man wearing typical clothes from the countryside (the coffee region) walks in a Transmilenio station.
Man crying on the street. It could be the most common feeling when you live in a chaotic city. It is the feeling of impotence when you can’t do anything. It is the feeling of the lack of power. It is the feeling of being lost in a concrete jungle.
This photo was taken in one of the most historical neighborhoods of Bogota,
La Candelaria. It was founded in 1538 and its architecture has been preserved. The colors of the house in the background are one of the characteristics of this neighborhood.