Monday, October 11, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday 74 - Coyoacan

















Strolling recently down Calle Francisco Sosa in Coyoacan in bright summer sunshine, I came across this fascinating pattern of shadows on the coppery-coloured wall of a colonial house. If you know Mexico at all, then you will immediately recognise what is responsible for the circular loop shadow that dominates the pattern....























Yes, you are right - loops and loops and loops of spare cable!!





















Look up on any Mexican street and you will always see above your head an immense tangle of wires and cables and loops that on first sight may be dismissed as an ugly, chaotic jumble, but look again, and to me they take on a strange kind of beauty - another iconic image defining this sprawling metropolis that really shouldn't function at all, but always does in the most unexpected and delightfully surreal of ways... These are the cables and wires on my corner...




















Finding such beauty in perhaps what should be considered ugly, takes me back to an exhibition I first saw in London in 2003 of the work of Mexican photographer, Enrique Metinides, of Greek origin, whose job it was to photograph the bodies of the newly dead for the front page of the tabloid newspaper "Nota Roja" (Bloody News) from 1949 - 1979. Although his photographs were of murder, crime or accident victims, there was nothing morbid, sensationalist or gratuitous about his images, and the aesthetic artistic quality of his work has led to his photographs being exhibited in art galleries all around the world. Obviously the different cultural approach to death in Mexico, and the fact that there is an openness and lack of cultural taboo, plays a significant role in how we can read and interpret his images. I remember one truly arresting, haunting and memorable shot of a telephone worker who had been electrocuted as he worked on the cables, and he lay back cradled by the wires high in the sky, frozen in time for ever by this shot. It should have been an ugly and morbid image but in my opinion it was stunningly beautiful.... What do you think? Have I been affected too much by Mexico's openness in approach to death....
















(image by Enrique Metinides, Mexico City, 1971)


As Day of the Dead, Mexico's unique festival for celebrating the cycle of life through honouring and respecting the dead, approaches once again, I am reminded how much I have learnt from living in this amazing and inspiring country. For more shadow photography this week check out Shadow Shot Sunday by clicking here....

16 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

How amazing! I could never have imagined what they were. Thanks for the photos and the history behind those cables. It's funny how every country has its own quirks and idiosincracies.

Great post.

Greetings from London.

Ralph said...

I hadn't considered the ordinary electrical cable as art - but the shadows say otherwise! Loops and loops of swirly wire is an outstanding subject for SSS. Neat!

Sylvia K said...

Amazing indeed! What great shadow shots we can find in the most unusual places! I, too, enjoyed the history! Great post and photos for the day as always, Catherine. Hope you have a great weekend!

Sylvia

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

My first visit to Mexico, other than a quick daylong foray into Tijuana, was in July. Even the streets of Puerto Vallarta have many loops and whorls of spare cable. All you have to do is look up! I'll be in Guadalajara in December and Puebla in March. Guess what I'll be looking for?

Crafty Green Poet said...

those cables make amazing shadows!

Sweet Repose-Junk Revival said...

It's just so sad to see all the wires slicing the clear blue skies of Earth...don't get me started on urban sprawl!

Kay L. Davies said...

I knew what the rolls of cable were. Even though I don't specifically remember seeing them in Mexico, I guess I must have.
The photo of the electrical worker cradled by the wires with which he worked is, indeed, hauntingly beautiful in some inexplicable way.
I love so much about the attitudes of the Mexican people. They are certainly much more realistic than Norte Americanos.

Kay, Alberta

Beverley Baird said...

I first thought you had circled something on your photo! What great shadows the wire makes!
I am always amazed at where we can find shdows and how much fun it is to search!

EG Wow said...

Thank you for posting these photos. I am fascinated by the shadows (and silhouettes) created by electrical wires and structures here in Canada so was delighted to see that you are interested in the same thing in Mexico.

I'm also fascinated by how cultural our ideas of death are.

Just Me said...

I really enjoyed your shadow shot and the story that went with it. Thank you!

Melody ~ Blondie's Abode
http://blondiesabode.blogspot.com/

The Clip Cafe said...

I really like the first set of shots :-) Not sure about the dead person - it is intriguing though :-)

Eden said...

These are just stunning. Great finds.

Catherine said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone - comments very much appreciated...

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

All of those wire shots are so fun - thanks for sharing!! The electrician's picture...well, it is kind of creepy...but oddly enough, we are wondering why he was wearing such shoes for climbing up there....we'd never see our electricians in loafers...big boots & insulated gloves - wow!!

by the way...we loved strolling down then Calle Orizaba with you above...beautiful!

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

I don't like to see death like that. Maybe it's because I'm a nurse and have seen too much pain. I'm empathetic and feel a twisting in my gut when I see suffering. It's not a part of life I enjoy. That man had a painful death and I would find it painful as a family member to look at how painfully he died. I don't mind seeing old people who've lived a long and full life and died peacefully surrounded by love. I don't think it's death that's taboo...I think it's our morbid facination with suffering that is disturbing. It always bothers me that people want to look at the carnage of car accidents.

Anyway...Your first photos are lovely and the one of the double wires look like old eyeglasses.

Cate said...

Some people would run a mile, others will try and get help, and one person is always there with camera, ready to take a shot.
Those wire coils remind me of the streets around Seoul, Osaka, Hanoi, Yangon, Bangkok, anywhere where safety isn't a factor.
Nice post.