Alejandro Cartagena photographs the particularities of the suburbs of Monterrey, Mexico which are relatively new and often hastily built, reflecting a general disregard for planning. Over the years, various governmental policies resulted in new, decentralized cities with limited infrastructures where the pursuit of immediate financial gain trumped any interest in sustainability. 

Cartagena captures both the destruction that rapid urbanization has imposed on the landscape and the phenomenon of densely packed housing. He takes pictures of dried-up river beds that attest to the water misallocation and depletion brought about by the construction, and he depicts perpetual rows of tiny houses slicing directly into the foothills of the picturesque mountains that surround Monterrey. Only the landscape appears capable of limiting their proliferation, the mountains and rivers the only forces able to contain their sprawl.

Ultimately Cartagena documents the chaos and destruction that result from scant or misguided urban planning. He lives in downtown Monterrey, and he cares deeply about its land, its people, and its future. Understanding that over-development is not just a local problem, he works hard as an artist to share his photographs as one clear plea for responsible, sustainable development in a rapidly changing world.

Text adapted from the book's introduction by Karen Irvine, Curator,
Museum of Contemporary Photography,
Columbia College, Chicago

Suburbia Mexicana
Alejandro Cartagena
108 pages
36 color photographs
Introduction by Karen Irvine
Essay by Gerardo Montiel Klint
Interview by Lisa Uddin
Publisher: Daylight Books and Photolucida
ISBN: 978-0-983-23160-8

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