The PhotoBook Journal

December 28, 2015

Alejandro Cartagena – Before the War



Copyright 2015 Alejandro Cartagena

Photographer: Alejandro Cartagena (born Dominican Republic, resides Mexico)

Publisher: Self-published (Mexico)

Text: English & Spanish

Multiple components, variable sizes, unbound in a heavy printed board folder, black & white lithography (newsprint), printed in Mexico

Photobook designer: Alejandro Cartagena & Fernando Gallegos

Notes: For Cartagena, “in 2008 the war against the drug cartels erupted in México. The State of Nuevo León in northeastern México became an increasingly violent place. The book project is a compilation of images and texts that obsessively revisit places where the war was eventually fought and look for signs of an evil that lay underneath but was invisible to everyone´s eyes at the moment these images were shot.” This complex project is indirectly a critique of photography itself which questions the “meaning” that photographic images seem to hold for the viewer. What do we really know by looking at a photograph of a landscape or a portrait at a given moment in time?

Previous Alejandro Cartagena photobooks reviewed on The Photobook: Carpoolers












  1. […] Other Alejandro Cartagena photobooks previously featured: Before the War and Carpoolers. […]

    Pingback by Alejandro Cartagena – Rivers of Power | The PhotoBook — August 4, 2016 @ 6:06 pm

  2. […] examination of what is occurring in Latin America. Our book reviews include Alejandro Cartagena, Before the War and Carpoolers, Mariela Sancari, Moises and Guilherme Gerais, […]

    Pingback by CLAP! – Contemporary Latin American Photobooks | The PhotoBook Journal — August 15, 2017 @ 1:45 pm

  3. […] books reviewed include: Rivers of Power, Before the War, and […]

    Pingback by Alejandro Cartagena – A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption | The PhotoBook Journal — October 6, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

  4. […] well for this region in Mexico. Following this photobook was his self-published Carpoolers in 2014, Before the War in 2015, Rivers of Power (Rios de Poder) in 2016 and now his 2017 publication A Guide to […]

    Pingback by The PhotoBook Journal interview – Alejandro Cartagena | The PhotoBook Journal — October 16, 2017 @ 4:07 pm

  5. […] conceptual photobook immediately reminded me of Alejandro Cartagena’s 2015 self-published Before the War, which in retrospect, I have found so complex at the time as to be visually overwhelming. There are […]

    Pingback by Louie Palu – Front Towards Enemy | The PhotoBook Journal — January 25, 2018 @ 5:39 pm

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