‘Love and Cartagena’ for The New York Times
I’ve always dreamed of becoming a jet-setting travel photographer commissioned to explore the world displaying my work in publications and galleries. And every-so-often the stars line up and I brush up against that dream. My most recent example starts with a little hustle and luck.
I was on the phone with my awesome photo editor over at the New York Times Travel desk soon after the earthquake in Chile. A separate client of mine had just reached out and was in need of a photographer in Chile to take a portrait and he’d love if he could hire me, but unfortunately his budget couldn’t cover the costs of physically getting me there (the pricey plane tickets, hotels, etc.), which is understandable considering the distance.
Thinking I might be able to kill two birds with one stone, I called the NY Times to see if they happened to need anything shot in the Chile, which would enable me to get down south. She took a look at her planner and informed me that there was nothing in South America slated for publication anytime in the near future, except for a few assignments in Colombia.
“I’ll take it!” I said, which resulted in laughter from both of us…then a bit of silence… “No, seriously…” I encouraged.
After chatting a while longer, I was able to arrange the timeline and budget to make it work and I was tasked with two separate assignments in Colombia slated to be shot April 5-11.
The first assignment I shot was Bogotá 36 Hours, a weekly Travel column that gives travelers ideas of places to see during a quick visit to random destination cities around the world. I recently shot one of those in Palm Beach, Fla. But, I’ll talk more about that one after the NY Times publishes the article….
After bouncing around Bogotá three days shooting my first assignment, I hopped an hour-long flight to the coastal Caribbean city of Cartagena. Cartagena’s Old City is completely surrounded with a mammoth cannon-studded fortress wall and a massive castle that once protected the Spanish port city from English pirate attacks in the mid-1600s.
My job was to illustrate a story about famed author Gabriel García Márquez who wrote many fictional novels, one of which won him a Nobel Prize. Nearly all of his novels took place in a cities heavily inspired by Cartagena, a city in which Márquez still lives. Cartagena is a truly beautiful city, has stunning architecture, vibrant colors, amazing people, and stellar flavors…a place certainly pleasing to all of the senses.
I must admit my favorite stop, though ever-so-short was to the Basurto Market that was mentioned in the article…it was a complete contrast to the tourist vibe in the old city and was a winding path of stalls that sold produce, meats, fish, grain, food, booze, and more.
I was fortunate to have a wonderful fixer, Dayro Reyes, who helped me along the way arranging transportation and my entire schedule so I’d be able to get to all the places mentioned in both articles. I tip my hat to you, Dayro. Thank you.
I had a total of 35 hours on the ground in Cartagena before I had to catch a red-eye flight back to Bogotá and sleep overnight in the airport to catch my early AM flight back to NYC.
What a great trip. I hope you enjoy my pictures!
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