About the Photographer
Cartagena Gonzalez, Alejandro
Mexican, b. 1977
In his series Suburbia Mexicana, Alejandro Cartagena documents the landscape and suburban sprawl in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Mexico, the country’s third largest city and a vital economic hub. Suburbia Mexicana is comprised of five connected chapters representing different aspects and impacts of the continually expanding and often hastily built housing projects surrounding Monterrey. Fragmented Cities is the first chapter in the larger series, depicting densely packed, identical housing units stretching toward the surrounding mountains, while a later chapter in the series, Lost Rivers, depicts seemingly romantic landscapes with rivers and streams drying up due to Monterrey’s rapid population growth and demand for water. The negative human and environmental impacts of these housing projects are the result of government policies favoring decentralized cities, a general lack of urban planning, and disregard for sustainability in favor of quick financial profit. By photographing the particularly acute nature of suburban sprawl in Monterrey, Cartagena depicts, in his words, “a global issue from a local perspective.”
Alejandro Cartagena was born in the Dominican Republic in 1977 and lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. He is completing a Masters in Visual Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León while also teaching in the same university. Cartagena’s work has been exhibited and published internationally and is part of several public and private collections in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and the United States. A monograph of Cartagena’s Suburbia Mexicana was published by Daylight Books and Photolucida in 2011.