October 20, 2018

Álvaro Alejandro López de la Peña, “Natura Libris”, Photography exposition at the Mexican Embassy

By René González de la Vega.

Nowadays photography has become more and more popular among people. Social media, internet, cellphones and all the different technological devices helped to popularize it beyond the imaginable. But we must be sure about something, one thing is photography as a source to remember events, vacations or birthdays, and another is photography conceived in an artistic way.

Not all photographs have artistic purposes even though some everyday photographs could be perceived as aesthetically attractive and also not all Instagram users use the platform for artistic purposes or in a professional way. Thus, when can we conceive photography as art and when is this impossible? Currently, this is a very valid question, mainly because of the widespread popularization of photography that we are presently observing.

Photography as an artistic activity could be understood as the practical intension of translating the ephemeral into eternal; catching moments that happened once and will never happen again but that somehow will remain in paper. Photographs could be seen as small capsules of stolen time.

This is the way that Álvaro Alejandro Lopez de la Peña has seen photography since some time ago. Álvaro Alejandro López de la Peña is a Mexican photographer, born in the capital city. He has worked in the publishing industry, from where he took the path of exploring photography as he puts it: “as the poesis of everyday life”. His photo projects and exhibits have been presented, in Argentina, Canada, Spain, Iceland, Belgium, the Netherlands and, of course, México.

As a photographer, López de la Peña has sought for art everywhere, in the smallest shadow, or the intriguing corner of a rail, or at the random combinations of colors in a train station; everything could be art if it is well perceived and captured, and everything could be eternal with the power of a camera shot.

It is rare when photographers try to invert the circle of changing ephemeral situations into eternal images; most of them try to find the strangest or most uncommon situations for their pictures, or they play with the lights and the shadows to eternalize a situation in the specific way that the photographer sees it.

With “Natura Libris”, Lopez de la Peña presents the relation in another way: the eternal and the universal of an idea turned into the ephemeral world of a photograph. Inverting the relationship between concrete situations and photography creates photos of long lasting concepts and ideas: for example the relation of books with nature, with people, with ideas and concepts.

Books are understood as the transporters of ideas and as objects that eternalize them through their pages, and this happens because they are part of nature.

One part of his collection could be understood as the “idealization” of a book; from where does it come, and the materials that create it. Another component is the “realization” of a book; the industrial process as part of a book; the printing process, the mechanical side behind the birth of a book.

His exposition dedicates also to the relation of “books and humans” and finally to the concept of “books in themselves” or books, as they are.

Definitely, seeing López de la Peña’s photography is a revitalizing experience. The shadows he captures, the scale of grays in his pictures, even the completely dark spots infuse you with the story of the place of books in the world. With his creative and determined eye, López de la Peña has seized the attention of many.

We should thank the Embassy of Mexico and to his Ambassador, H.E. Edgar Elías Azar, for hosting this extremely interesting exposition.










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