The respectability of a city known as the Athens of South America evolved as an important work for Chilean photographer Alejandra Parra, who spent three years exploring Bogotá’s back alleys and ramshackle shops to produce images with a 6×6 medium-format, twin-lens camera.
The result: ‘Otrora’ – a word that in Spanish means “from another time” and lends itself to an exhibition on display at the photography gallery and meeting place OjoRojo Fabrica Visual. That gallantry that once was Bogotá, from its red-brick homes of La Merced to glass-encased Republican structures of the city’s centro, have withstood the passing of time.
Parra’s images capture eloquently a city with a gritty past that now contrasts with high-end restaurants and boutiques. Looking at her work, one gets a sense that the people and urban landscape are part of an “inner circle,” like flipping through a vintage family album.
The pictures are tinged with nostalgia and the street, home to people who have seen better days, even cars, such as a palatial Volkswagen with a lovable and curious passenger.
OjoRojo Fabrica Visual was started by a group of international photojournalists residing in Bogotá, including Carlos Villalón, Felipe Abondano, Stephen Ferry, and Fabio Cuticca. Since they opened their doors they have invited photographers Dario Mittideri, Lucca Zanetti, and Juanita Escobar to talk about their work.
The inaugural exhibition on April 9 – day of the legendary “Bogotazo” – showcased the work of the Bogotá-based postcard photographer Tito Celis and his coverage of the day the capital’s streets where engulfed in flames after the death of populist Liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitán.
Alejandra Parra’s ‘Otrora’ runs until mid November.
OjoRojo Fabrica Visual
Carrera 5 No. 26C-62