Bolivia's Major English Language Publication
Editorial by Alexandra Meleán Anzoleaga
Canon or Nikon? Flashback to 1990. Witness the rise of the digital SLR. The mainstream recording medium and consequently, the photographic process, transforms. Analog photographers trade photographic chemicals for memory cards, negative records for hard drives and the darkroom for Adobe Photoshop. Enter the digital age. Photography is now as easy as 1-2-3; watch a YouTube tutorial, make a Flickr account, and design a flashy watermark. Social media and photo-sharing networks, Facebook and Instagram, make it possible for everybody with a cell phone camera to become a photographer. Android, or iPhone? ... Stop.
ISO, shutter speed, and F/STOP.
REWIND. “Shoot in manual,” says Michael Dunn, Bolivian Express Head of Photography.
From the Sin Motivo Photography studio in downtown Sopocachi, you borrow Sara Juana, a Canon Rebel XTI, named after a pistol- carrying, cartoon horse, emphasizing her shooting capacity. Through a lens, you observe photogenic La Paz, curiously looking for the decisive moment coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson, father of photojournalism. You walk from Avenida 20 de Octubre to Calle Jaen, climbing a cobblestone street at a 45 degree angle. Breathlessly, you admire el Illimani. Hooked, you buy your first DSLR from Calle Eloy Salmón, an electronic goods street market: the paceño amazon.com. When the lens cracks, you are gifted a vintage 1960's Asahi Pentax Spotmatic from the camera repairman on Av. 20 de Octubre. After a few hours in the darkroom, you develop two black and white Kodak TRI-X 400 films and make contact sheets. You frown at an overexposed print left in the developer too longer and mutter, “this is part of the process,” before you do it again.
In this issue, the Bolivian Express looks beyond the tacky watermarks to discover Bolivian professional photographer Juan Estellano developing film and making prints in L’obscurita from the perspective of Bolivian journalist Alex Ayala. Bolivian Express photojournalist intern Vicky Roberts explores the contrast between diverse Bolivian landscapes in her first photo essay. Bolivian journalist Adriana Murillo investigates the history of photography in Bolivia, from analog to digital, finding the value of photographic archives. Bolivian professional photographer Alejandro Loayza critically examines the sustainability of Bolivian city landscapes during an age of visual contamination. Bolivian professional filmmaking-photography collective, Sin Motivo, shares how a collaborative space for creative audiovisual artists and photographers was formed. Bolivian Express photojournalist intern Sophia Vahdati interviews professional Bolivian photographer Alvaro Gumucio Li, aka ‘Gumo’. Photojournalist Johnathon Mccarthy documents the rural, artisan weaving women of Huarancani. Featured photo essays include the work of professional Bolivian photographers Michael Dunn and Carlos Sanchez Navas.
Inevitably, any photo issue will invariably only be able to cover a limited selection of what it means to be a photographer in Bolivia. So of course, this will have to be the first of several future editions exploring this neverending world of pixels, celluloid, silver nitrate, shutters and broken lenses.
Articles from the latest issue of Bolivian Express
24 December, 2014, Jonathan Mccarthy
24 December, 2014, Carlos Sanchez Navas
24 December, 2014, Adriana Murillo
24 December, 2014, Sophia Vahdati
24 December, 2014, Sophia Vahdati
24 December, 2014, Alejandro Loayza Grisi
24 December, 2014, Vicky Roberts
24 December, 2014, Alex Ayala Ugarte