Out there, beyond the stratosphere, reality is pure physics and chemistry. Not a bunch of absurd laws, written by primates belonging to the suborder of the haplorhini, in other words, you, the reader. Out there, there are cosmic spaces filled with dust of many colours, which slowly (if such concept exists in cosmos, that is) unite and condense to form stars. Nebula is the name. A cloud of destruction from our point of view, a cloud of creation and transformation in the eyes of the Gods.  

Here inside, in this bubble of water and oxygen, where all sorts of organisms try to find a reason to be. In this planet, that drifts around in a medium where the mineral world thrives and the organic one struggles. Here we divide our absurd existence in years, days, hours, frames and selfies. If there are 86.400 seconds in a day and a second has 24 frames, there are 2.073.600 frames in a day. You may think I’m talking nonsense. But let me tell you that your existence is even more absurd. And that urge to photograph everything, to spit it out in pixels, chiseled in zeros and ones is nothing but a silent scream in the immensity of our dark universe. 

Now then, if your camera is 150 years old and you use the wet plate collodion process, then we are talking about pure chemistry. A less silent scream. Silver nitrate, iodine ions, potassium nitrate, nitric acid and nitrocellulose. 

Scientists at Harvard have this theory that to produce gold you need to generate a massive collision, a supernova, or a collision of neutron stars. That is something that I can put it into words, but I struggle to understand. According to their theories, gold landed here spitted out from outer space, riding meteorites. That would explain why it is spread out in tiny pieces all over the face of the earth. A sort of golden panspermia. Likely, platinum, silver and other precious metals could too have an exogenous origin. Lets assume they do, lets assume it while we read this text. This would mean that the silver nitrate used by Jacqueline is star dust. Nebula dust that chance (chance understood as non linear phenomena of complex and unpredictable causes, as well as everything else our mind fails to understand) deposited on her glass plates. A chemical compound, craving for light, waiting for the shutter to open and soak in the energy radiating from her models. Energy emanating from a star. Closing the cycle. 

In the old days, a nebula was a diffuse astronomical object. It was later redefined with the invention of the telescope, when we could see closer. A paradox we experience every day; we seem to be surrounded by diffuse realities. When in fact, we are simply too far away, figuratively speaking. 

Here inside, in this bubble of water and oxygen, children too are diffuse objects. To portray them with dignity is no easy task. Instead, children’s portraits are absurd, projecting their parents grotesque stereotypes. Why do they have to smile? Why do they have to be playing? Why should they dress like buffoons? Or be stuck in flower pots? Most of all, why do they have to be angelical creatures? Children are beasts of nature. Their potential for creation and destruction knows no limit. Their inner world is complex. This is not easy to capture in a photograph, let alone with a large format camera that delays the whole process. Prepare the collodion. The plate. Load the plate holder. Keep still. Wait. Wait. Shoot. Develop the plate. 

Nowadays people take pictures like a fisherman trawls his net. He throws his net, sweeping up everything. He hauls it in, not knowing what he has caught. He hopes something could be saved. There is no time to seize the moment. No time to commune with the subject portrayed. Only digital stress through quantity. The exact opposite of the process behind these images.  The observation, the wait, the silence are all essentials. 

Hitchcock advised: “never work with dogs, children or Charles Laughton” to avoid havoc in a movie set. The same goes with photography, animals and children. Not so much for the havoc, as for its unbearable outcome. Just take a look at the bewildered herd on Facebook.

What is a child? A vague concept that seems very clear to us, as clear as what we see without a telescope. A postnatal state that spans to adulthood. We have a triadic and arbitrary idea of life instilled in us: child, adult, old man. We know that the child starts when we are born and the old man ends when we die. The other boundaries are more diffuse. So much so that at my age I have begun to doubt the very existence of the adult. I reckon it has been nothing but an invention to keep us all under control. To come to terms with our inexorable loss of freedom and apathetic tedium. 

Officially, the concept of “child” was born in 1924 at the hand of Eglantyne Jebb (founder of “Save the Children”) with the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, followed by the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959. Since then, childhood has been defined and delimited. Institutions are charged with reeducating society and teaching parents how to treat their children, who are now considered citizens. Childhood has gone from being an undesirable phase to become a space where many don’t want to leave. We have created a range of institutions that have standardised the concept of childhood, overprotecting minors. We turned them into entities exceedingly fragile, and built a psychological wall that sets them apart from all the other concepts that we hold true.  

Personally, I have no nostalgia for this diffuse object. Childhood. I long for it as much as I long for old age. It felt to me like the greatest waste of time that I had to go through. Having said that, to children it is the only reality they can hold onto. Their eagerness to become a grown up has nothing to do with wanting to be one of them. Rather, it stems from the desire to have no one telling them when to stop playing, to eat ice-cream or to go to bed. 

To portray the nebula that is childhood, with the mystic mood that we see in these images, takes us into a conflictive territory. A conflict created by the haplorhini, ergo, artificial.

Miyabi’s parable says: “when looking at an exquisite Japanese Miyabi knife, some will see a sophisticated cooking utensil; others will see a deadly weapon”. I have just made up this parable. But it is a perfect example to shed light on a fundamental issue that arises when the person portrayed in a photograph is a minor: political correctness. The knife creates no conflict, the observer’s ailing mind does. Distrust those who dare to condemn the natural beauty of these images, for they doubt all that makes our existence sublime. There is a chemical and timeless soul in these portraits that knows no political correctness.  

August Sander’s portraits were uncomfortable for the nazis. His book “Face of our Time” was seized and censored; his photographic plates destroyed. Presumably, the silver from his plates captured the soul of the nazis. On their faces was the crucible of National Socialism. That was distressing, even for them. I find Jacqueline’s images fascinating for many reasons, reasons that I am unable to decipher without the help of a psychoanalyst. What I know though, is that they bear the same gift as the portraits of August Sander or Julia Margaret Cameron; in them I see souls. It is not superstition. It is chemistry. And this is as valid here inside as out there.

Oh! And I managed to write this text without once mentioning Sally Mann. Damn, there, I just said it.

Frank Kalero
Iquitos, Marzo 2016



Reviving 19th-century photographic processes, Spanish photographer Jacqueline Roberts traces the moment of limbo that marks the transition from childhood to adolescence. Nebula is a collection of portraits that capture the mist of psychological and emotional change in youth; a glimpse into their nascent sense of self.

DAMIANI ED., SEPTEMBER 2016 / INTRODUCTION BY FRANK KALERO / HARDBACK, 9.5 x 11.75" / 144 PAGES / 87 B&W PLATES / ISBN9788862084864
In my last apartment there was no mirror in the bathroom, nor in the living room. Somehow I managed to get along without it the first few days. And somehow I forgot to buy one in the months that followed. For a year I was not aware of how I looked before leaving the apartment. On my way to the office, I created a complex network of mirrors from different shop windows, selecting each carefully, in order to check my appearance before reaching the office. You know…trying to make it as casual as possible, hoping not to look too vain. It was just a flash, a reflection of my physical vehicle, the body that carries my brain around. It was enough. After a while, I just forgot to check my reflection in the windows. And it was wonderful. Just like prehistorical people could have felt many millennia ago, before being trapped by the Narcissus reflection in the pool. If you are not worried so much about your external presence, you certainly focus more on an awareness of your context, also called ‘real life’.

Yes, shooting digital is as disruptive as wanting to see yourself in every single shop window. You don’t enjoy the walk, the journey. You just try to fix your walking style, while stepping accidentally into dog shit.
Shooting digital is like throwing a big fishing net into the sea, and waiting to fish out something good, disregarding all the little stuff carried away by accident. You end up living through the reflection of your LCD screen, on the back of your camera. Forgetting whatever is in front of you, out of the frame. Time is not frozen, it is time no more. It becomes frames, and frames become zeros and ones. Your life is suddenly digital, and framed.

You need to live an analog life, in order to share the narratives of your own experiences. You need to be aware of the stories you want to share, live them first, and catch them with a rod, not with a net. We might say analog is for apocalyptic, digital for integrated. But although I can see myself as a romantic nihilist, I must recognize that digital shooting is just awesome.
So, digital or analog? I don't care. Why? Because when we simplify life, to the utmost basics, say into a quantum level, there all becomes digital. Life is in fact digital. As physicist Freeman Dyson puts it, life is defined as a material system that can acquire, store, process, and use information to organize its activities. The essence of life is information, but information is not synonymous with life. To be alive, a system must not only hold information but process and use it. It is the active use of information, and not the passive storage, that constitutes life.

It is not how you acquire and process those pictures, but your active role that counts. Be there!

Original article written for the Viewbook page
Invitado a visionar en el nuevo centro de la Fototeca Latinoamericana, FoLa, en Buenos Aires. Gracias a Gaston Deleau y Nicolas Janowski.
One of the best photofestivals I know, Encontros da imagem, Braga. Nice week doing portfolios reviews, talks, music and eating pastel de nata.
Curated by Jokin Aspuru, the 10th edition of Getxophoto.

Una semana fantastica celebrando los 10 años de Getxophoto, y haciendo un workshop sobre multimerda.
Back to el Alto, Bolivia. Finishing the film "cholet"on Freddy Mamani.


We had a Screening of IIC and Cholet at the Camp180 Abrantes.
Creative Camp180 in Abrantes, Portugal.
Excellent!












Hemos pasado unos días en la costa de Ecuador, haciendo un proyecto colaborativo sobre las secuelas del terremoto que sacudió la región hace unas semanas. Para FLUZ + VAQ

Talk en Fluz. - FLuz QUITO, Ecuador





Invitado a dar una charla en FLUZ, Quito, sobre narrativas visuales.





Happiness is a place in teh sun. Invited to be at the portfolio review, thisSeptember at Ecnontros da Imagem 2016, in Braga, Portugal.
Regreso a los origenes. Invitado a dar una clase en Getxophoto 2016. Septiembre. LINk ----->
Finally in el Alto, looking for Mamani #freddymamani


A little bit of nostalgia. That was the original Ojodepez concept. A magazine with empty white cover and back cover. Inside a black plastic bag, the same used for photo paper. Binded with a red thread. Beautiful. It lasted 2 issues before we had to adapt it to the "market".
Insane how video gear has changed in a decade. Now I can make 4k, 120fps, raw files, lighting and great audio with such a little equipment. First Ikea, then H&M, and now this. On my way to El Alto.
I was invited to the Center Awards Jury, for the Project Launch category. Great award to give a little push to devoted photographers. Congratulations to ELENA ANOSOVA, WENDEL A. WHITE, ÁLVARO LAIZ, LAURA MORTON. Check the site.

Preparando un nuevo documental sobre el genio del Alto, Freddy Mamani.




We are going to Abrantes, for the exciting 180 Creative Camp, in July. With this amazing line up: Sean Dunne, Boa Mistura, Javier Peña Ibáñez, José Cardoso, Alec Dudson, and Simon Landrein!

180 Creative Camp aims to provide a time and place for young creators, invited artists and thinkers to learn together, exchange experiences and give birth to amazing creations. It will be an 8 day Media Arts Academy in cozy Abrantes, Portugal. You’ll have the time and the freedom to explore the city and give it another life! Since 2012 people from all over the world, since Los Angeles to Copenhagen, Santiago do Chile to Berlin, have come to 180 Creative Camp showing their best.
Go to the website


So that was it for Ojodepez. Started years ago at the university in Barcelona. I went broke, desperate, frustrated, but it was worth it.

Here a letter from Arianna.
Most of you are probably aware by now: OjodePez, the documentary photography magazine as you know it, is ceasing to exist. Decisions need to be taken on if and how to proceed in the future. The magazine was born 13 years ago from a wild idea Frank Kalero had with a few peers in college. They wanted to create a photo magazine, and to do so they invited a photo editor (@Pepe Baeza) to guest edit one. OjodePez at the time did not even have a cover image! It was collected in a black plastic bag, a nostalgic memory of darkroom days and light sensitive paper. Well, there was nothing nostalgic about the magazine really. It was a flash-forward idea, giving space to unpublished works but mostly cherishing and highlighting, not only the work of the authors but the action, the magic of the photo editor. That person that envisions the best way to sequence your work, and that intuitively knows which images must go in and which ones should go out. The Photo Editor. I was lucky enough to be invited to guest edit the second issue: what a dream! About 100 pages to fill with the remarkable works I had been collecting through the web, portfolio reviews, meetings… and preserving in a drawer or folder, waiting for that special space to welcome them. And since then I have never left the magazine… spiritually and professionally…on the side during Frank’s directorship and as director since 2010. OjodePez has changed and evolved with the passing of time. The look and language of the magazine has modified to adapt to new codes and contemporary visions. Always based on one theme per issue, it has welcomed a variety of styles and choices to study and defy the definition of documentary photography. I feel we have done a good job, I am a happy stepmom of this wonderful project that is the result of love, many hours of work usually at nighttime, great discussions and encounters, all done with a very small team. I want to thank first and foremost Frank Kalero, for the vision and the bravery to put forward the idea, and to let it go and live on; to La Fabrica, the publisher, especially in the person of Camino Brasa, wonderful and compassionate editorial director; and Gema Navarro, art director and designer of the magazine, for the patience and precision. MUST thank ALL the photographers that have participated in the issues throughout the years, offering their images to the passionate workings of photo editors worldwide. And of course, the amazing invited editors who, also at no fee, spent countless hours picking, choosing, editing, sequencing, often at nighttime. (I will dedicate a comment to tagging all of you!!!) And thanks to you, faithful readers, fans and photographers, who from all over the world have been buying, subscribing, reading, exchanging, suggesting, discussing OjodePez and the wonders and challenges of documentary photography today. Truly, Arianna
In Hong Kong, at the Wyng opening. The WYNG Masters Award is a non-profit photography award aiming to nurture the growth of photography as an art form in Hong Kong, as well as stimulate dialogue and foster community awareness on socially relevant issues of critical importance to Hong Kong. Each year, a focused theme is chosen for the award. In the Award’s inaugural 2012/13 cycle, the theme was POVERTY, followed by AIR then WASTE, and the theme for the 2015/16 cycle is IDENTITY. The WYNG Masters Award grants the recipient of the award a cash prize of HK$250,000. The recipient is chosen by an international panel of judges. Each of the six additional finalists will receive HK$15,000 cash. The winner will be announced at the exhibition of finalists’ works in April 2016.
Paseando por el boulevard de Iquitos, conocimos a Luis Beltrán Peña Grandez, el poeta del amor. Vive en una casa de madera flotante. Que se acerca y aleja al malecón dependiendo del caudal del rio. En una semana dejará a su familia para pasar dos años en Republica Dominicana como misionero. No tiene teléfono, no tiene internet. Este video es un pequeño presente para Luis.

 
My prescription glasses, and prescription sunglasses. This is how your life looks when you are a freelance working probono for art's sake.
Starting a fruit seed bank for a new project.
Doing some research in one of the most amazing Valleys in the world. Birth place of the Inca empire.


Filmando en Lima una intro para el Festival de Diseño Latinoamericano, LAD FEST.

Una nueva oportunidad para estar con la familia de Getxophoto.

Tiempo 
GETXOPHOTO cumplirá diez años en septiembre de 2016 y girará en torno a la temática del tiempo. Será una edición especial comisariada, por primera, única y última vez, por el actual director del festival, Jokin Aspuru. Contará en su equipo de programación artística con los que han sido hasta ahora los tres comisarios del Festival: Alejandro Castellote, Frank Kalero y Christian Caujolle.
We are in Paracas desert, Perú, working with Domingo in a project for the upcoming Museo de Paracas.




All hand made, no electric tools. Made in Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil.