Copyright 2016 Alejandro Cartagena
Photographer: Alejandro Cartagena (born Dominican Republic, resides Mexico)
Archive images: Fototeca de Nuevo Leon
Essays: Ximena Peredo, Gonzalo Ortega
Text: English and Spanish
Stiffcover book with printed slip cover, naked-sewn binding, printed insert, four-color lithography, printed in Spain
Photobook designer: Alejandro Cartagena & Fernando Gallegos
Notes: Rivers of Power is Alejandro Cartagena’s recently released photobook that explores the relationship between man and nature and the futile attempts by man to try to control nature, which in this case is the Catarina River running through the Mexican city of Monterrey.
His story reveals an empty and seductive river bed that seems to beckon entrepreneurs to take advantage of the unobstructed wide open spaces. A story about how mankind soon forgets that the usually trickle of river water can be deceiving evil in the face of the next horrific hurricane advancing in from the Caribbean.
Cartagena mixes historical photographs of the early riverbed construction to control this waterway to set the context for his story, then introduces his investigation using a documentary style of color photographs. The brilliant design of his book is a wonderful metaphor for his subject; the flexible interior book, like the river water, is encased in a hard shell, much like the conducts and pipes to control the water, which almost collapses when the interior book is removed. The stiffcover naked-binding allows the book to lay flat and in conjunction with the photographs printed full bleed across the two page spread, creates an enjoyable reading experience. Recommended.