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Unwritten Histories
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio
Volando Bajo, Mexico City, Mexico

In the mid eighties I decided to photograph Mexico City. I was born there but it is so enormous that you never get to know it all. With the map I planned a route to go to all the areas of this mega city. The idea was to experience the immensity of the place. By the time I finished my project the city had grown by three million. My subject was an ever changing monster full of energy, made of human beings struggling to survive and have a good life.

I was walking around a working class area (in Mexico that means very poor). There were some small kids playing ball in the street. I took photographs of them and one of the kids asked me what I was photographing. I told him “the energy of the city”. He immediately asked me if I wanted to photograph his older brother. We walked down from the main street through a tough neighbourhood. After a few minutes we arrived at a dead end street. There was graffiti on the walls and a bunch of youngsters smoking dope and drinking beer. For a moment I did not know how they were going to react with me and the camera. One of them looked at me and jumped towards us. The image was wonderful and I clicked away without thinking about it. By his face I could tell that he enjoyed my reaction but he said it was dangerous to take pictures around there. We did some talking and then he let me take some more pictures.

When I processed the film, I found the present that the little boy offered me that day. His older brother embodied the energy of the city I was looking for.