Category: Documentary

World Press Photo in LA

To be a witness of how American people is raising awareness through excellent photojournalism is a privilege.

Here’s some of my work for World Press Photo in collaboration with Theo Kingma current President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which co-produces the Golden Globes. Enjoy!

 

Mobile World Madness

Yesterday was the first of 4 days Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and I was filming the making of about the photo shooting of 36 dreamers. They were selected by the Imagine Creative Center (San Francisco – Barcelona) to create different mobile apps and present them at the MWC16, so was a very exciting day and a big opportunity for some of them, who succeeded in the process of creating a useful app, to show it to the world.

Photographic Social Vision Foundation, with whom I am currently collaborating, created the photo shooting in the final stretch of the intense process for the dreamers to transmit the image of a future generation of creative, tech, prepared and ambitious youth to be exhibited with the making of as a part of the documentary photography Festival Docfield. Which, with the theme “Europe: Lost in Translation”, pretends to answer the question who we are. The first chapter of this big Festival is the European Human being and will take place with an exhibition of very classical 36 portraits of the dreamers along with the making of, among other events.

Frame while filming the making of

Frame while filming the making of

The photographic project was presented by Xavier Verdaguer at the Mobile World Congress yesterday afternoon with this image I took as a part of a time lapse for the final piece.

The photographic project was announced by Xavier Verdaguer at the Mobile World Congress yesterday afternoon with this image I took as a part of a time lapse for the final piece.

Finish what you started

 

These days feel like a new circle is opening. Old things in life are knocking on my door again. But I am a picky one and I just let the worthy ones coming back to me.

One of them is a work in progress project started a while ago in Nepal called “DHARMA”.  It explains the dialog existent between two distant realities that seek each other organically. On the one hand, the daily life of children monks in the Monastery of Khawalung in Kapaa area of Kathmandu. On the other hand, the reality of the children in the rural areas of the Himalayas, who have to work and often miss school, (if they have one) thus increasing the children labor rates of the country. Following the Buddhist value of the universal order, Dharma, those kids who have grown in the Monasteries, privileged ones for having received education and protection, go back to their native villages with the aim of building new schools based in modern education. So the new generation won’t have to leave their families seeking for a better future and will be able to improve their quality of life in the mountains. A right that they never had before. Here’s the Teaser:

I am the Producer of the Documentary with a very talented team formed by a Cameraman, a Sound Engineer and an Assistant Producer. The four of us are living so many adventures together thanks to this project, since designing the very start of the creative process and writing the script, to be hiking and story hunting for weeks in Kathmandu Valley, also conducting interviews, meeting local people, meditating with the monks, editing video and audio…  We also experimented a crisis moment while planning how to create a successful crowdfunding campaign in order to give the Buddhist Foundation more visibility and if possible, some funds. One of the reasons why we had to face such a tough moment  was because we are involved in this project as volunteers so all of us had other urgent projects to work on at the same time. If one was in Cuba filming a movie, the other one was in New York working for a Dence Company and when they came back I left to Mexico and Los Angeles working for other photo Organisations. This kind of logistic dynamics put in danger the life and development of our project (timing is the key in Project Management and even love!). Therefore, our initiative could have become a cost instead of a help for the Foundation, which we wouldn’t accept to be. Lack of planning, sources or experience could have been some of the causes of it. But we have the most important variables to succeed, will and tools. We genuinely wanted to help from the beginning, so we are doing it now. Not for us, not to impress anybody, not even to gain some professional background, but because we owe them, we gave our word, they need us and we are nice people.

As Producer and responsible of the DHARMA I started a round of contacts to organize a big Crowdfunding weekend (23-24 of April) in Catalonia to remember the earthquake tragedy of last 4/25/2015. With the motto: “One year later, still with Nepal.” All the beach volleyball nets “Pay & Play” on the 5 beaches of Barcelona will be full of people playing, competing and having fun for Nepal, including Treasure Hunt games for kids. Homemade food and beverages will be served. Meditation marathons and Yoga retreats all over Catalonia will be part of the event. Even triathlons! Also, postcards and bookmarks with my photos of Nepal will be informative flyers in bookstores and an improvised Photocall to take portraits for lovers will be available on the streets of Barcelona for St. Jordi’s Day (4/23) and hopefully subscriptions to pujas (monks meditations) recorded by us at the Monastery will be for sale too.

It is beautiful to see how easy everything comes out when you are surrounded by the correct people. The connection, empathy, “egoless” thinking, authenticity of souls bonitas. I can’t wait for you to see the resume and results of that weekend in a post-Crowdfounding Campaign throught the Network! Stay tuned!

04/25/2016
It was awesome!!group photo

And the finalists:

at the finals

Changes

These weeks I have been living a thrilling process in my personal and professional life. This  second one consists in my new paid position as a Co-producer at World Press Photo. Reporting to the Senior Editor Online at the Communication Department, concretely in the Academy Partnership Programs. I collaborate to create multimedia content for publication on a website with around three million annual visitors and social media channels with an organically grown audience of more than a quarter of a million fans all over the world.  My main functions are:

  • Coordinate agendas, troubleshooting and decision-making at the online meetings
  • Design and conduct interviews
  • Co-write scripts
  • Travel
  • Shoot video / photo of workshop participants
  • Video edition and post production

world press photo

I am so grateful for having the privilege to choose the last opportunities in my career as a Producer and Visual Journalist. I chose the Agency Noor images before, and WPP Organisation now. I do it by inner resonance. Criteria that goes far beyond the logical thinking.The difference between both methods is that the first one requires to be in extreme coherence with your true self, while the second one only requires the mind. I believe is important to experience this identification with the self in your work. Is when it becomes your vocation, so you can enjoy the most of it. Like an obsessive maniac.

I couldn’t be prouder of being part of a team that defends this statement, also my living mantra:

“We inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism”

This philosophy is what makes possible to raise empathy all over the world. Empathy is the main force to create social consciousness. Without empathy, you are alone or you just can pretend you are not, through others. But at the end, the result will always be isolation.

And this brings me to the main value of photojournalism, the truth. Because empathy is a simple and intuitive way to share the truth.  I heard somewhere a while ago, that “the truth is what cuts us, and puts us back up, and separates the things that look the same.” The ones who choose to pretend and the ones who choose to face it. Photojournalism, which should show the truth itself, is like the genuine love, you can’t fight it off, you just can’t.

Changes are a necessary condition for new opportunities. They create unexpected situations sometimes. Have you ever felt the fear for a situation to arrive and, once the moment of facing it becomes an inevitable choice, it results to be the best thing it could ever happen? (That’s the personal part of the thrilling process) The result, deep satisfaction.

Resilience.

It implies a new perspective. A new level of consciousness. With the change, one is able to see from a place that couldn’t before. Et voilà! All those amazing blind opportunities from before, appear clearly right in front of you.

And then, as Socrates said:

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.”

Work with Noor in Visa pour l’Image 2014

My work for Noor at Visa Pour l’Image, some shots of  Sebastian Liste’s presentation about his work “On the Inside: Venezuelan prisons under inmate control

Vista Hermosa is a notorious prison in Venezuela. With violence plaguing the country, there are more and more prisoners, and more clashes between prisoners and guards. The authorities have made no attempt to improve conditions, and have let the situation degenerate into near chaos. National Guards patrol outside the walls, while the inmates live and die in a world of their own making on the inside.

04

Sebastián explained, “For several months I met with people that would take me directly to the leaders who control the prisons. These people control all movement in the prison and their consent was totally necessary to enter their realm and achieve my goal: to introduce myself for several days into the daily life of this strange prison led by the prisoners. I was aware of the danger of the situation but it was the only way of documenting this hidden reality.”

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The exhibition runs from the 30th of August until the 14th of September in the Couvent des Minimes in Perpignan (France).

Original article: Noor website

text: © Noor

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photos: © Lena Prieto

 

Exhibition at the Fuel Cafe and Denver streets

I would like to thank the NGO The Wonderbound for their great job printing the photos (31.5″ x 23.6″) of my serie “Insane”. A result of a performance I organized with dancers and homeless people the last February on the streets of Denver (CO). The result of this work is being exhibited for almost two months in the Fuel Cafe in Denver. You still can visit it there. And not for long time because the exhibition is moving to the streets of Denver! Public spaces for solidarity causes. The photos will be exhibit outside the walls of The Wonderbound in the main center of Five Points neighborhood next week.

The inauguration coincided with a fundraising event for the Contemporary Dance NGO. I would also like to express my admiration to the dancers to be so open minded and have a great attitude with all their neighbors, mainly vagabonds, who spend hours and hours walking down those streets stopping right in front of their building very attracted to their art. Is easy to see members from the Dance Organization sharing breaks with a group of homeless people out on the street while smoking some cigarettes and having nice time.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS
The Dance NGO is located in a very cool basement with huge windows facing the Park Av. just in front of the Denver Rescue Mission shelter and sharing block with the Saint Francis Center. I was walking down the streets of an extremely frozen Denver evening (0º Fahrenheit not Celsius!), just after having had interviews with some users of Saint Francis, when I saw those brightly windows and beautiful dancers moving and almost flying very smoothly. I couldn’t separate my fascinated face from those windows. I was cleaning the mist every five seconds. Was wonderful! The trainer laughed of my reaction and invited me to enter. Once inside, I took some shots and I kept them in my mind for the following hours. The same night, in that moment when one is between two worlds, just trespassing the border between consciousness and subconsciousness, I opened my eyes very excited and experimented the sweet taste of a great idea. I wrote it down in my note book and went back to sleep with a big smile. The note: “Performance with dancers and homeless people on the streets of Denver”. I would like to add that my idea was already a need. Is something usual to see homeless people watching with huge eyes through those windows, as I did. So I just made possible a process that was natural itself through my photography. Another example of this existent dialog between homelessness and art is the Reach Studio project from the Redline Gallery.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music”

THE IDEA
Insane is just a serie of a bigger project I am working on. The idea is to show the dialog between different groups that cohabit in the block between Park Av. / Curtis St. / Arapahoe St. and 24th St. at Denver, CO. This area is formed for the two main shelters for homeless people in the city, the Redline Gallery, The Wonderbound, one of the main spots for drug dealers and Ruth, a very nice and sharp old women of 102 years old, who I had the pleasure to meet few months ago and the last neighbor that actually lives in the block with her family. She has resisted every single change in the area since more than 60 years ago. By then, more houses formed the block and also the restaurant of her parents, that was located in the intersection Park Av, Broadway and Arapahoe St, where she spent a long time working as a waitress.

portrait
mappuppy
believer
nu

All of them, artists, homeless people, workers, drug addicts /dealers and neighbors come from very different worlds, live in different social status, have different nationalities and share the same space in the city. This project pretends to document their lives from a very close and honest look, by sharing time and experiences with each one of them, making some projects possible through art and creativity. Also showing their opinions about these days and history of the neighborhood.

I love to cross visible walls and invisible borders. I believe in the close look and time shared with the people I talk about.  I enter in their shelters, in their houses, in their daily dramas and happy moments. Somehow, also in their lives and learn from their experiences and their perception of the world.

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