Colombia through Cesar’s camera
By Cesar Moreno Huerta
I had the opportunity to travel around Colombia for a year visiting multiples cities and places around the whole country. From when I got on the plane, I knew I had one year to backpack and see every corner of the country. I didn’t want to miss anything. From the northernmost point of South America, Punta Gallina, up to almost the southernmost point of Colombia, the region of El Llano adjacent to the Amazons.
From all those spectacular locations, I was taking photos of the culture, the most exciting areas, the landscape, every small detail which defines the exact Colombia culture, and their people. In this article, I want to share three of the most significant places for me. It was tough because I have content (video and photographs) to bother for many hours, but I chose the ones who touch my heart in a specific way. The most exciting part for me when I was in Colombia was to see that it is extraordinary in terms of geography. One can be in a tropical area, in the Caribbean with 40 degrees, or located in very high mountains with snow and 2 degrees, or the middle of the jungle in the Amazons at 20 degrees and heavy raining. Everything in the same pack, Colombia. I still remember the slogan of the embassy where I got my visa; “the risk is to fall in love”. Now, I can say I fell in love.
Here, I’m going to show you a small series of pictures of very different areas and with different photographic techniques. First, a beautiful place in the north of Colombia called La Guajira. This area is seen as very magical and extremely rural. The site is inhabited by indigenous people, called Wayuu o Guajiros, who are the owners of the region. Yes, the owners, not Colombia, unofficially. The government does not allow anyone to buy or sell that part of the land. It belongs to the indigenous people forever. In their territory, there are three natural parks and five indigenous towns. They also have their own language, the Wayú idiom. However, this has caused the region to be tremendously poor, most people do not have access to basic needs, there are hardly any roads, and they survive thanks to selling craft products to tourists. One of the saddest or maybe best things, depending on your perspective and goals of the trip, is that in the northern areas there is no electricity and almost no phone signal, thus, people have electric generators that turn on for a few hours. Perfect for disconnecting from the world, hard to survive every day. The indigenous are entirely out of the world. The photographs I took during that trip, which you can see below, have a journalism angle. Most of it was shot with a 35mm in order to capture the essence of the place.
Nevado del Ruiz
The second area I want to show it is the opposite of La Guajira. The volcano of Nevado del Ruiz. It is situated in one of the biggest mountains of Colombia at 5,321 meters between two departments (Caldas and Tolima), and it is still active. From time to time, authorities have to cancel tours because it is hazardous. I remember when I was approaching the mountain, I was thinking about which photographic style I should take for the trip, but as soon as I saw the volcano, everything was obvious. It must be panoramic to capture the full beauty of the place in high resolution, it has to be in panoramic unifying multiple photographs. Most of the pictures you can see below are the result of fifteen to twenty images all at once. I love how one can see the beauty and speciality of the place; it looks like Mars to me. Sadly, this place is also in high risk due to climate change. Experts from the region are raising their voices to alert the government. They said there are tremendous changes in the temperatures, an incredible decrease in the snowfall from previous years and how nature and flora are disappearing.
The last reportage is from a lovely, quiet and tiny town called Salamina. For me, the most beautiful place in Colombia, it particularly touches my heart up to the point of thinking about having a house there. It has a population of only 18.000 citizens. It is in the middle of Colombia, in an area called the Coffee Landscape (Eje Cafetero/Coffee axis). Imagine how it is to be surrounded by mountains full of the coffee fruit, only the sounds of birds and colonial houses. Just wonderful. I remember the first day I visited the place; I said I will be back for sure to say goodbye before my year’s experience finished. And it was true. By the end of the year, the town organises such as gorgeous event call The Night of the Candles. Every citizen designs, crafts and decorates their house and the street they live with candles for the rest of the citizens or curious individuals. Then, the major turns off the streetlights for people to enjoy every candle. Then, everyone dances, sings and enjoy the night until the end with fireworks. That event is becoming more and more famous, and now, people from all over the country go every year to light a candle and wish something. It has an extraordinary Christmas feeling; I guess because it is in December.
Please, people who want to see more material ask me. I will be delighted to show you more, My Instagram profile is cesarmhmedia.
My name is Cesar Moreno Huerta. Fun fact: I have two surnames. I´m from Spain but I was living in the UK for the past six years. However, I was during that time one year in Colombia, working as a lecture. I had study photojournalism at Southampton Solent University and MSc Marketing at Brunel London University. Now, I´m doing a PhD in Business & Economics at Loughborough. About my personal life, easy I love all types of art. I go to the cinema at least five-six time per month, tend to visit museums, I read intensely books (especially Joel Dicker ones), and my main passion is photography. I have been taking pictures and doing exhibitions since I was twelve years old. You can find my work on Instagram: cesarmhmedia. Also, football is my second passion, Real Madrid supporter since I was born.
The Limit showcases the creativity that exists within the student population, creating a sense of community.