I’m leaving Medellin today after a nearly six week stay. I’m dying to get my medium format rolls developed. In the meantime, here are some snapshots with my digital camera from my wanderings around Medellin.
The city sits in a narrow valley with neighborhoods climbing both sides, quite high. After the flatness of Buenos Aires, I find the topography of the city fascinating.
This is a very postcard-y picture of the cable car leading to La Aurora on the eastern side of the city. A lot of the neighborhoods climbing the hillsides are impoverished and have difficult access. Medellin is the first city in the world to use cable cars as mass transit (Caracas, with a similiar topography, is now also using them). I had to post this picture because as a child I used to fantasize about cable cars being used as mass transit (I was a very geeky child). These cable cars are probably the coolest thing about Medellin.
The hottest thing about the city is the noon-day equatorial sun. Being at 5000ft. above sea level does take some edge off the heat but the sun striking directly down from overhead is intense. The city is just 6 degrees north of the equator and I find there’s something odd and not at all photogenic about the way things look in this kind of light. Trying to find interesting ways to photograph under these conditions has been a challenge (one that I’ve mostly failed).
Like most places I go, I like the regular architecture and decoration of houses in middle-class neighborhoods.
The rich neighborhood is called El Poblado. It’s one side of the valley with brick apartment high rises climbing far up the side of the mountain. It’s sort of this neo-liberal hell whose residents think they’re in heaven. It’s all mega-apartment complexes meant to be driven into or out-of but the road infrastructure is so poor that you spend 30 minutes in traffic just to get to the supermarket. Still, the views are interesting. You’re often somewhere in the middle with buildings above and buildings below with no clear sense of where the ground is. I like that.
And finally, I’ve been photographing a lot at dusk. I’ve been taking two pictures of the same view separated by 15 minutes, like I did for my Pulmones project in Buenos Aires. It’s a really simple device but I like the effect. Plus it’s been a good goal to try to find myself someplace interesting every night at 6:20pm (the time of sunset doesn’t vary a lot. We’re close to the equator).
And here’s the full set on flickr.