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About the Photographer
Mexican, b. 1977
In his series Suburbia Mexicana, Alejandro Cartagena documents the landscape and suburban sprawl in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Mexico, the country’s third largest city and a vital economic hub. Suburbia Mexicana is comprised of five connected chapters representing different aspects and impacts of the continually expanding and often hastily built housing projects surrounding Monterrey. Fragmented Cities is the first chapter in the larger series, depicting densely packed, identical housing units stretching toward the surrounding mountains, while a later chapter in the series, Lost Rivers, depicts seemingly romantic landscapes with rivers and streams drying up due to Monterrey’s rapid population growth and demand for water. The negative human and environmental impacts of these housing projects are the result of government policies favoring decentralized cities, a general lack of urban planning, and disregard for sustainability in favor of quick financial profit. By photographing the particularly acute nature of suburban sprawl in Monterrey, Cartagena depicts, in his words, “a global issue from a local perspective.”
Alejandro Cartagena was born in the Dominican Republic in 1977 and lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited and published internationally and is part of several public and private collections in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and the United States. A monograph of Cartagena’s Suburbia Mexicana was published by Daylight Books and Photolucida in 2011. He has received the international Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award, the Street Photography Award at the London Photo Festival, the Lente Latino Award, the Premio IILA-FotoGrafia Award, and the Salon de la Fotografia of Fototeca de Nuevo Leon among others. He has 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.