- The public space from Mexico to El Salvador, photography exhibition by René Valencia
Street photography is a particularly popular photography category and not just on social media. Mexican-Salvadorian photographer René Valencia has been documenting the life of public spaces in Guadalajara, Mexico for ages.
Then in 2017, he went back to his home country for the first time in 14 years. Here he ran a “mobile” photography workshop and discussed Street Photography during a conference at the Mexican Embassy in El Salvador. The great interest shown by the general public in his work and in Street Photography led to the creation of a photography exhibition. Half of the images were shot in El Salvador and the other half in Guadalajara. Hence the title Dos centros, mi historia (Two places, my story), referring to the fact that both the photographer and the photos belong to two nations and two cultures: Mexico and El Salvador.
A subtle comparison for inexperienced observers but that's what makes it so fascinating. Because when you look carefully, you can see differences in the public space of the two countries, and how it is inhabited.
The fact is, this street photography is a powerful medium of informal documentation that explores the overarching theme of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, FREESPACE. Indeed, the city is a space that gives you a huge range of different aesthetic experiences - sights, sounds and smells. When you photograph this space you can, therefore, focus on whatever part of the landscape you want, whether it's urban or human, and study it in depth. Because, the visual acquisition of the space provided by the photo gives these places a wider significance, leaving the photographer free to interpret and mediate. This mediation can be done both through framing as well as through post-production, whether it's simply cutting out a part of the urban life or touching up or adding some filters.
The Street Photography of René Valencia is profoundly tied to the place the shots are taken in. The photographer also takes pictures of the stage the people are portrayed on, namely the urban backdrop. An inextricable bond, not only for the subjects portrayed but also for the artist.
Lastly, René Valencia manages to blend in with the crowd, nobody takes any notice of him, which gives his images an agreeable sense of stillness; at the same time, always part of the large public patchwork he moves around in.
Exhibition: Dos Centros, Mi Historia
by René Valencia
19 April to 31 May 2018
San Salvador, El Salvador
Images: René Valencia - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reneviolence/