Innovating in Fine Art Photography ft. Alejandro Cartagena

Kaloh's Podcast | Alejandro Cartagena is an award-winning fine art photographer and the co-founder of Fellowship.

Alejandro Cartagena is an award-winning fine art photographer and the co-founder of Fellowship. His projects employ landscape and portraiture to examine social, urban, and environmental issues. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited internationally in more than 50 group and individual exhibitions, and his art is held by some of the world's most important public and private collections.

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In today’s episode, we discuss:

[2:30] Brief introduction to Alejandro's career and how his artistic career started.

[7:50] Focussing on fine art photography and how his assignments and commissions for the New York Times and The Washington Post were aligned to his documentary artistic vision —finding beauty in the everyday.

[9:50] How living in Latin America inspired his work because of plenty of social tensions. It is not a bubble; “it is always changing, it’s not finished.”

[12:30] How Alejandro creates projects that usually take over five years.

[16:00] Comparing the early days as an emerging artist to today’s projects. “For six years, I reinvested everything I earned into my practice. I was all in, which helped me accelerate my career.”

[21:00] Living in Mexico was a strategic advantage as life is cheaper there. Even though Alejandro was aiming at the international market, living in New York City or London would have been extremely hard.

[24:30] Alejandro worked as a digitizer for The Archive. That’s how he understood the importance of sharing his art online (on his website).

[27:00] From 2012 - 2014, Alejandro created Carpoolers and went viral online multiple times. He minted his first NFT on Foundation with little success in 2020 —even if his art was held in various museums and had won numerous awards, he understood he had to fit in the digital culture.

[32:00] Early collectors like Deafbeef and FingerprintsDAO were critical for his success.

[34:00] The story behind Carpoolers: how difficult it is to own a house, the dream of being a homeowner in Mexico, and the influence of traffic and transportation for construction workers.

[46:00] Co-founding Fellowship Trust (with Studio137) to collect the best NFT photographs in the world.

[51:00] Photography transformed the world; we try to find artists already thinking under that premise. Mentioned: Dmitri Cherniak, Roope Rainisto

[54:15] “AI is a consequence of photography.”

[55:00] Where are we going? How Alejandro sees the future of arts impacted by AI.

[59:00] Inspired by all the artists he works with at Fellowship and Fellowship AI. Mentioned: AI.S.A.M, Julie Wieland, Cuco.

Until next time,

- Kaloh


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