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E d i t o r i a l s

Editorial 105
July, 2010

Glass Half Empty


"Glass Half Empty"

"We're all aware that this issue of perception defines most of what happens in our lives. Both in love or in politics, we define our own roles according to perceptions such as that of the glass being half empty or half full. So it is not surprising that the concept of representing perceptions is at the heart of photography today.

However, this notion is not only related to photography. I read today a paragraph in a financial newsletter that stated: "The friction between perception and reality is where profitability is found". If we take this idea a few steps further, we can see that this is also true in a lot of different areas of our lives such as literature. Who could disagree with the premise that the friction between characters in a novel, precisely between reality and perceptions, is where "profitability" -as in, making a better story- is obtained."

Editorial 104
June, 2010

Every cloud has a silver lining


"Every cloud has a silver lining"

"It has recently come to my attention, that the world is not looking so great. Well, that is after looking at all the news one gets 24/7 coming from all directions. Television, newspapers, magazines, websites, bloggers, twitter, etc. You name it, they come from across the globe.

No sooner are stock markets going up, that someone comes up with negative news coming from Greece, or Spain, all of which bring down the entire financial apparatus. We have this week the largest oil spill in the history of the world, and so it goes on. Both Koreas threatening war on each other, extensive draughts in Africa about to hit one million people, amongst other awful news."

Editorial 103
April, 2010

Back to the Same


"Back to the Same"

"It seems that nowadays there are more cancelled prizes, declared as void, etcetera, than awarded. And it always revolves around the manipulation issue.

This time it goes like this:
Luis Valtueña's contest first prize revoked because of the manipulation made to one of the photographs."

Editorial 102
March, 2010




"World Press Photo has just disqualified Stepan Rudik from receiving the 3erd. prize story award in Sports Features.

Their argument goes that "after careful consultation with the jury, [it has] determined that it was necessary to disqualify Stepan Rudik, due to violation of the rules of the WPP contest". The photographer had removed a foot of one of it's subjects from a photo."

Editorial 101
February, 2010

From the lightscreen


"From the lightscreen"

"From the lightscreen" is our new statement, and it substitutes our previous one: "from analog to digital". We believe that the transition from analog to digital is now an accomplished objective.

15 years ago we set ourselves the goal to guide our fellow photographers thru this transition. Along the way, in this decade and a half, not only has our forecast been consistent with events, but now even we were surpassed by the the speed of the changes that occurred."

Editorial 100
January, 2010

The photographer and his skeleton


"The photographer and his skeleton"

"I would venture to say that most photographers have a back problem. We apparently have not been designed to carry a heavy load of camera equipment dangling from our shoulders. When I was a lot younger than I am today, I thought nothing of lugging around three or four cameras, and their lenses. Sure I might have gotten tired, but other than that I never gave it too much thought, as to what I was doing to myself.

My father always had back problems himself, yet he never advised me to be aware of how I should carry all that weight around, there just was a general lack of information about the cause and effect of such behaviors."

Editorial 99
August, 2009

Times Run Faster


"Times Run Faster"

"I am sitting here, in front of my computer screen thinking about my editorial for this month. I think of a subject, and soon enough I cross that idea out, then think of another idea, and the same thing happens again, and so hours go by, without me finding a suitable topic. I must ask myself, what is happening?.

I finally come to the conclusion, and perhaps this can also help to illustrate the actual state of technological changes and the way we communicate, because I came to realize that this editorial at one time , when the internet pace was slower than it is today, served as a precedent of what today we have come to know as blogs, and all that happens within social networks such as Facebook."

Editorial 98
July, 2009

Photographic Intelligence?


"Photographic Intelligence?"

"Making a case for "photographic intelligence" is the purpose of this editorial. One of the clear changes in the digital era, is how intelligent photography has become.

Imagine, today our pictures are pregnant with every conceivable piece of information as to how, where and what the image was made with. What lens and what f stop was used, what camera, what exposure speed, if one used flash or not, or better yet, if the flash went off at the time of shooting, let alone that you had a flash connected. The latitude and longitude of the place the image was taken, the hour of day or night it was taken. The serial number of the camera you used and a myriad of other pertinent information.

Editorial 97
June, 2009

And what should I be doing from now on?


"And what should I be doing from now on?"

"If there is one thing that is clear to me is that almost everything around me is changing faster than I can process. This was not always the case. Let see, all of a sudden the entire world seems to have jumped over a financial abyss. It's not like at other times, when one would hear that an economic crisis took place in a specific country; or that of a continent, such as Asia or Latin America, for instance; or in a certain zone, like the euro. Now the entire planet is involved and it all happened in the batting of an eyelash."

Editorial 96
April - May, 2009

The day pigs will fly


"The day pigs will fly"

"Mexico City is a very quiet place today. All restaurants, bars, discos, nightclubs, bowling alleys and billiard halls are closed. No movie houses, galleries, museums, or cultural programs to visit. No sports events or religious activities such as Mass, either. All Schools from grade school all the way up to Universities, are also closed down. You can visit with friends of course, however most people seem to choose staying at home, connected to their TV sets, telephones, cell phones, or computers. As of tomorrow, no business are to be open either. It is mostly a shut down of the entire system. The reason for this is to try and keep all of us separate to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading."

Editorial 95
March, 2009

The lost decade


"The lost decade"

"This morning I read in the Mexican newspaper, Reforma that the Chinese government just announced the construction of a new automobile factory in Mexico. This is at a time that other car manufacturers, the world over, are falling apart.

What this tells me is that the misfortunes of some does not need to be the same for everyone else. In fact the Chinese economy is growing, notwithstanding the reduction of their own export market to the rest of the world, and they are doing so at a pace of around 6.5% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by stimulating their own internal markets. There is one fundamental difference to what is happening in the rest of the world: their stimulus packages are financed from within, with their own reserves, whilst the US is financed mainly by the Chinese."

Editorial 94
February, 2009

What about the crisis


"What about the crisis?"

"The crisis is global. And it’s not only economic.

We talk about the many ills that afflict all countries, where the economic dimension is a very important one, but it’s by no means the only one. It would seem that the crisis is going to last for quite a while.

As a friend, Rubén Aguilar, put it, “Not all of us can act on the causes, but all of us are in a position to act on the effects.”

In the world of photography, all of us have many opportunities to do our part in the context of this crisis."

Editorial 93
January, 2009

Singing to life


"Singing to life"

"A few days ago Nadia and I went to visit her gradfather who is 94 years old and lives with his new girlfriend, Blanca, in a retirement home for the elderly, near Mexico City. As we were leaving the home were they live with about another hundred elderly people, I came across the lovely lady in the picture sitting on a small chair across from the entrance door.

Upon seeing her I felt I was looking at something very special which I had to photograph, I took the picture without understanding my motives. I still had no clear idea, why this person who I did not even know, caught my attention so much. But after studying the image, and looking at it for a while, I discovered what my fascination was all about."

Special Edition 3
October, 2008




"The moment has arrived, the opening of the HERESIES project in various parts of the world is finally here. Ok, I know I suggested we might be able to change a few paradigms along the way, but that did not include the financial collapse of markets, on a world wide basis. Trust me that was not in our program, I should have you know.

In many ways opening these exhibitions of Heresies at this time will inevitably bring back to our minds, at some point in the future, these landmark days. We are thus inextricably tied to this moment. However there have been other moments in my life which have been likewise linked to seismic changes. The last one I can remember is when I started here in Mexico City, a two year seminar-workshop, called "El taller de los lunes" (The Monday Workshop), which had amongst the group some of the most important artistic talents of that generation, judging by what all of them were able to accomplish over the years. Well, that workshop coincided in its opening moments with the earthquake of 1985, which killed tens of thousands of people and left more than one hundred thousand homeless. And if I look further back, I only have to go so far as the moment when I was born, in the middle of the Spanish Civil War and the outbreak of World War II."

Special Edition 2
September, 2008




"The curatorial process began with 21 curators who made a selection of 1,600 images, from a total of about 310,000 images. And in turn the 60 Museum curators made their choices from this selection which had narrowed down the number of images from the totality of images available, bringing it down to a more manageable size.

But aside from this parade of numbers, which after all only defines parameters, nothing more, one very interesting issue does come up."

Special Edition 1
September, 2008




"Do you still remember me? I ask because the pace of the world nowadays makes the one week-old news seem much older. We are flooded with new events everyday. Does anybody remember the Olympics?

In case your memories were lost during my absence, I'd like to introduce myself once more. My name is Pedro Meyer and I used to write the editorial of ZoneZero since day one. Up until a year ago, when I took a leave of absence, a sabbatical if you will, to devote myself to the HERESIES project."

Editorial 82
August, 2007

Time for some changes


"Time for some changes"

"After more than a decade of writing our monthly editorial for ZoneZero, I have decided to take a rest giving myself a sabbatical for the next twelve months. Nonetheless, you will be getting some very exciting editorials as I have invited some of the best people from all parts of the world, who can write about photography to replace me. It will, I am sure, be a very interesting exercise to get this diversity of minds and ideas and read what they have to say, as usual you will be able to interact with them in our forums.

I will not be that far from you even though I will not be writing the editorials. I will remain committed from the side-lines, to make sure we maintain the quality that you have come to expect from ZoneZero. Hopefully we will come up with new ideas that will give ZoneZero the continuous update that is required in a medium -the internet- that never stops changing."

Editorial 81
June - July, 2007

Why complaining will not help


"Why complaining will not help"

"I have heard time and time again, how the market for photo documentary work is shrinking and there is no work to be found, and the little there is pays very poorly.

The question to be asked is if this statement is true, and if so what can be done about it.

In general terms I think there is indeed a big change in the size and scope of the market for photographic work available to freelance photographers. Today there are numerous solutions for those in need of photography to illustrate whatever is needed, other than hiring photographers to do such jobs. With online stock photography being just one of the many options to those in need of photographs, to the fact that with digital cameras many people have taken to make their own pictures rather than hiring someone for that purpose."

Editorial 80
May, 2007

Mosto people never had...


"Most people never had..."

"Nowadays, when we discuss about new technologies, and I hear that they are not available to everyone, I wonder when was that, if ever, the case?
Certainly those Underwood typewriters which today look to us as having such a romantic aura to them, were never something that was available to the masses.

To begin with, you needed some basic skills to use them, first would be the knowledge of the language you are writing in, and then the other is that you need to know how to type. Not everyone has those skills. That has not changed today with new technologies either, regardless if you are using a computer or an Underwood typewriter there are certain abilities you require in order to make it work for you."

Editorial 79
March - April, 2007

So where does painting start and photography end?


"Just when I thought the discussion was all over..."

"We made a survey which was responded by our audience in more than 32 countries. We want to thank you all for your invaluable feedback; it will provide us with substantial guidance going forward, on the things you expect and which you would like to see happen at ZoneZero.

Half of you claimed that the topic "from analog to digital" had been mostly surpassed and that we now live in a full digital photographic environment, and the other half believes that film and the dark room are still doing well and will be around for the foreseeable future.

Editorial 78
February, 2007

So where does painting start and photography end?


"A wooden face in turbulent times"

"Imagine my surprise upon reading that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is proposing restrictions on all photography in public spaces. http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Photography/

I had already written about such paranoia, some years ago in 2001, while visiting London, angry teachers shouted at me as I took pictures of a teen age school outing in front of the Tate Gallery. You might want to read what I wrote at that moment in editorial no.32 (day 9), and how the direction of present policies are nothing but a continuation of those same attitudes that were left basically unchallenged at the time.

Editorial 77
January, 2007

So where does painting start and photography end?


"So where does painting start and photography end?"

"In the picture above we are in front of a painting that was presented at the Shanghai Biennale of Art in 2006. The painting is based on the perceptions associated with photography, to the extent that the men depicted in the painting appear in a pose usually associated with portrait photography. If we have any doubts about that, just behind these three Chinese gentlemen, you will find another painting depicting a man in the process of taking a photograph of precisely those same three men in the foreground of the painting. Now mind you, you are in fact looking at of this through a photograph which is the one that is looking at the overall painting. We have the back and forth echoes between photography and painting that is the subject of this editorial."

Editorial 76
December, 2006

A changing world


"A changing world"

"After three months of traveling around the world, I find myself sitting on board of the plane on the last leg of the journey from Franckfurt to Mexico City.
This has been a trip that has taken me to many parts of the world, different cultures, and an immense array of visions. I have learned how much we are all alike and then also how different we really are from one country to the other. However, the issues of globalization are certainly a reality that will not be changing course, on the contrary, I think it will increase at an ever faster pace, notwithstanding all the concerns that are expressed all over the world.

Editorial 75
August - September, 2006

Changing Formats


"Changing formats, weights and cultures"

"With the advent of digital photography, not only has the notion of film gone out the window (camera), but so has the monopoly of formats dependent on 35 mm or 120 mm film. No longer is the width of film imposing on camera manufacturers what the proportions of any images should be. We are starting to see transformations that would have not been possible earlier in the analog era. Of course lenses are now also being designed so that such variables can be increased together with the chips that capture the images."

Editorial 74
June - July, 2006

A Matter of Size


"The summer and travel time"

"Months come and go. I should have delivered my editorial quite some time ago. The only reason I have not been fired for not delivering is that my co-workers treat me with a lot of kindness and understanding.

There has been a combination of a lot of travel, the World Cup, and writer’s block. These reasons, or excuses shall I say, combined with an overload of social activities seem to be sufficient to look upon my feelings of guilt -for not delivering- with some degree of complacency. After all, I was thinking of all of you all the time, and preparing what I hope will be some ideas to share with you".

Editorial 73
April - May, 2006

A Matter of Size


"A matter of size"

"It used to be (up until the late eighties) that in most parts of the world we would make our prints for exhibitions, in the 11 x 14 inch range. The reasons were many, but one of the more important ones was the high cost of photographic paper, as well as the scarce availability of papers".

Editorial 72
March, 2006

No Content Please


"No Content Please"

I wonder what is happening in the world of art and culture that an E-mail such as the one I received from the Paul Kopekian Gallery was sent out to their entire mailing list, and no one seems to be particularly surprised.

They write: "We are looking for work that is not politically charged and has no emotional or other negativity".

Editorial 71
February, 2006

Extreme Makeover


"Extreme Makeover"

In walking past the colonial church that is located one block away from my home, and noticing how it is being restored, all sort of thoughts were triggered in my mind. The restoration of this church has probably as little to do with any past reality as the reconstruction of the people shown on television. Fortunately we are in the process of being able to witness how the church is losing all patina of time, which in many ways represents an equivalent to the wrinkles on the face of contestants which are being erased by plastic surgery, the process of aging is deleted as it would be in a photographers studio using Photoshop on a digital portrait.

Editorial 70
January, 2006

Everyone is a photographer these days


"Everyone is a photographer these days "

I have been getting a lot of complaints recently about how the digital world has turned everyone into a photographer.

There are those who believe that only those who actually understand what they are doing should be taking photographs, that otherwise we end up devaluing photography as in an inflationary process in which everything loses it’s value.

Editorial 69
December, 2005

The Camer's Brushes



I have found that for me the best pictures are those that leave me with more questions than answers

When I do not fully understand what I am looking at, I feel more intrigued by the image. It allows me speculate, it gives me the opportunity to be creative with the possible interpretations of what the photograph is all about.

Editorial 68
November, 2005

The Camer's Brushes


"The Camera´s Brushes "

So where do we go from here?

The decisive moment had been explored through an infinite variety of great images over the past decades. However, there came a point, that I was looking at images that looked like those of other great photographers where only the subject matter would be slightly different, from one author to the next. But what could follow after “great images” would be for me, the great unanswered question.

Editorial 67
September, 2005




"I am surprised that there are still discussions going on concerning the superior quality of film, because those people who so argue usually do not understand what digital photography is, or have not even used digital media."

Editorial 66
July, 2005

In which exact part of the human body does dignity and glory reside?


"In which exact part of the human body does dignity and glory reside?"

As I visited the Museum at the Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca here in Mexico, I came across a statue with a one legged general. Ever since I discovered that the left leg belonging to the general had been buried with military honors, I have asked myself in which exact part of the human body does dignity and glory reside.

Editorial 65
May, 2005

The impact of technology on content.


"The impact of technology on content."

We place a marking on the wall, at each one my youngest sons’ birthdays, he is by now ten. He stands up against the wall and where the top of his head is, we draw a new line. That way we can visualize better how much he has grown from year to year. Of course we are aware of his changes as he outgrows his clothing and toys, however, these lines on the wall are what really provides us with a better perception of how he has been growing.

Editorial 64
March, 2005

Hoy en día, la realidad es lo que asombra.


"It’s reality that astounds these days."

We are reminded that “today the real has become the new avant-garde” by Nicholas Rombes.

The irony is that as digital technologies are used to deliver ever greater special effects and fantasies, there is an alternative tendency to use digital video cameras not to transform reality into some special effect, but rather to describe the world with increased realism.

Editorial 63
December, 2004

What is the meaning of one fish?


"What is the meaning of one fish?"

I don't know what the story is of this single fish, other than it seemed to be quite important to these men at the fish market in old Dhaka. Given that I do not speak Bangla, there was no way of finding out what the context was. This is of course the beauty and the limitation of photography, that it is open to any interpretation we wish an image to contain.

Editorial 62
November, 2004

Street Photography Revisited


"Street Photography Revisited"

Several topics come together once again. On the one hand that old standing tradition of street photography and the question of what the limits are for “manipulating” an image and still consider it as photography.

Editorial 61
October, 2004

A photograph, is a photograph is a photograph


"A photograph, is a photograph is a photograph"

One can observe how in recent years, a growing number of those who have used photographs in their work have started to shy away from describing themselves as photographers. They are now “artists”. As if photographers belonged to a different species than those of artists.

Editorial 60
September, 2004

Questioning Perceptions


"Questioning Perceptions"

We were about to land in Mexico City; I had my digital camera pointing out the window when over the loudspeakers a pre-recorded voice stated, “All electronic devices must now be turned off….” Which of course I thought did not actually include my camera. However, as the stewardess paced the corridor inspecting if all the passengers were following the orders just spoken from above, she let me know that they understood “all electronic devices” as including any digital cameras.

Editorial 59
July, 2004

Los iconos de esta guerra


"What was that about originals?"

We believe it is helpful to take a look at how the world actually likes to see itself represented. And how far human nature is capable of bridging one’s own reality with that of the multitude of representations that have nothing to do with being 'honest'.

Editorial 58
May, 2004

Los iconos de esta guerra


"The icons of this war..."

I don't think it's too far fetched to assume that the main icons of this second US war in Iraq in 2004, still in process, will be the amateur digital pictures of the tortures performed on Iraqui detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Editorial 57
April, 2004

The Rush to New Technology


"The Rush to New Technology"

One of the fascinating aspects of what is going on at present in this ever changing landscape of photography is that we are moving both forward and backward at the same time. The improvements of what all these new technologies have to offer, certainly do not bring only benefits. I am obviously a great enthusiast for using and exploring all that the digital revolution has been able to bring us, but I am also quite critical of those matters that hold us back needlessly and dissipate our limited resources for no good reason at all.

Editorial 56
March, 2004

Importa el tamaño


"Two women with a red dress"

I was recently asked by a student of photography from South Africa, how the advent of digital imaging methods had impacted the traditional perceptions of documentary photography. I offered to take up his question in one of our editorials.

Editorial 55
January, 2004

Importa el tamaño


"Does Size Matter?"

Have you ever opened your e-mail to find in your inbox several e-mails with the subject: "Does Size Matter?" I think you might have. I read somewhere that around 250 billion of such spam e-mails have been sent all over the world.

In the prestigious Journal of Photographic Arts, CAMERAWORK published in San Francisco, Vol # 30, this past winter, I came across an interesting article by Geoffrey Batchen, under the title "Does Size Matter?" making reference to the intimacy between the viewer and the size of the photograph questioning through the size of the image presented the photographic experience.

Editorial 54
December, 2003

Nuestro décimo aniversario. "De la fotografía analógica a la digital: una década"


"Vanishing Evidences.
Photographing at night in Mexico City."

I had just been surrounded by 15 police cars. Their red and blue lights flashed, blinking all over the landscape at 1:30 in the morning. Surrounding my car, there were no less than 80 policemen, some of them boasting heavy duty machineguns that made the “Terminator” look like, well, just a governor of California. What I am about to tell must be one of the most colorful stories told in a long time, combining the crossroads from analog to digital photography, sex, accidents and a lot of unforeseen twists and turns, that will prove to be quite worthy of an end of year finale.

- QuickTime 6.4 plug-in is required -

Editorial 53
November, 2003

Nuestro décimo aniversario. "De la fotografía analógica a la digital: una década"


"In defense of photographer Patrick Schneider
and the fictions of a "Code of Ethics"

Last week, the North Carolina Press Photographers Association in the United States, rescinded three Pictures of the Year awards given to Charlotte Observer photographer Patrick Schneider.

We find the behavior of many of the photojournalists whose names appear below who have passed very ill advised judgment on Mr Schneider, as well as many of the picture editors in their corresponding newspapers who share their views, to have reached such an incredible low point in this ongoing debate about the veracity of images in photojournalism. We might be reaching the dark ages again. But more about that later.

Editorial 52
August, 2003

Nuestro décimo aniversario. "De la fotografía analógica a la digital: una década"


"Our Tenth Anniversary. "From analog to digital photography: a decade"

During this past decade our theme at ZoneZero has been "from analog to digital" . No work that we have brought to our pages during this period could better epitomize this idea, than the work of Ken Merfeld. His wonderful imagery made on glass plates, through the process of wet collodion which in the end would migrate to the digital domain, would therefore allow us to bring you his work over the internet. No other photographer that we have published would span such a spread in technologies while still remaining true to his own style.

Editorial 51
July, 2003

Revisiting Street Photography


"Revisiting Street Photography"

Four years ago, this very month, I wrote on the topic of "street photography". I was disheartened then with the problems related to making images on the street. Be those in conjunction with the security of the photographer or his equipment and the shear refusal of so many people to being photographed. Many of you wrote us sharing your views on this matter, some disagreed but most of you did find equally discomforting experiences.

Editorial 50
June, 2003

How did you Learn Photography?


"How did you Learn Photography?"

We all have different stories of how we learned about photography. Many were dependent on where you lived and also what financial resources you could count on. I was living in Mexico City and there was no place you could learn formally about photography, fifty years ago.

Editorial 49
April, 2003

The still image in real time


"The still image in real time"

So my phone takes a picture, what changes does that forebode for photography you will ask. Well, look at it this way, over the past year (2003), the number of cameraphones sold world wide has been larger than the number of stand alone digital cameras, and no doubt the trend will continue into the future. By next year (2004) the number of camera-phones sold is expected to be greater than the number of digital and film cameras combined.

Editorial 48
Marzo, 2003

Protecting your images in a digital world


"Protecting your images in a digital world"

When I first started to publish the ZoneZero website nine years ago, one of the primordial questions that I was asked, was: “will my photographs be safe on the Internet”?

Since that time, all photographers who have asked me that question, have received the same candid response: there is only one way, I know of, to protect yourself 100% against someone misusing any image, do not publish at all and that includes all media, not only electronic.

Editorial 47
February, 2003

Photography as a witness, to what?


"Photography as a witness, to what?"

The issue I want to bring up, is that the subjective interpretation by either Colin Powell or Hans Blix, leaves photography as a reference, well, as it should be, as an instrument with which we can have multiple interpretations about it's content.

Editorial 46
January, 2003




When we take pictures of people it always seems we are requesting that they smile for the camera. Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, it appears that a "smile" is a universal sign language that states we have peaceful intentions in mind.

Editorial 45
December, 2002

About Photography Books II


"About Photography Books II"

We are about to close another tumultuous year, this time with a war in Iraq looming over our heads, according to the designs of the President sitting in the White House. It is anyone’s guess what the outcome will be.

Editorial 44
November, 2002

About Photography Books


"About Photography Books"

I was talking to an audience of about 150 people, who had gathered that day to listen to a series of speakers (me included), who were trying to pass on information, as to the best way to go about having one's photography book published and distributed.

Editorial 43
October , 2002

The poetry of an image


"The poetry of an image"

We are told, "Poetry is the other way of using language". Yet when we make reference to other art forms, in our case specifically to photography, we seem to use the term poetry to describe a particular form of imagery, I suppose considering those other ones the equivalent to prose.

Editorial 42
September, 2002

September 2002


"Color vs Black and Whitel"

I have already predicted elsewhere the gradual demise of film, over the coming decade (you will probably hold my feet to fire on that one). Well, now I am willing to add another prediction, that photographers will increasingly produce in color, in particular those that did their personal work mostly in black and white.

Editorial 41
July, 2002

July 2002


"The Fall"

While visiting one of my favorite countries, Ecuador (it still is!), I had an accident and in that fall I broke a disc in my back. You want all the details? Well, that will appear here in ZoneZero, very soon, in a digital diary I kept during this entire period. It will even contain among others, a video of the operation on my back that probably most of you do not really want to see.

Editorial 40
April, 2002

April 2002


"The story of the frogs and the Titanic"

There is this famous experiment with frogs where if you take a frog and place it in a pan with water sitting on a stove, and then heat the water slowly until it boils, the frogs will eventually die in the boiling water having never jumped out of the pan. However if you take a frog and place it in that same pan containing already very hot water, the frog will jump out immediately and save itself from being fried to death.

Editorial 39
February, 2002

February 2002


"How long will film be around?"

I must admit that I am more than just a bit puzzled by the survey we have been conducting here in ZoneZero regarding the expectations our audience has, regarding how long film will be around. By a considerable margin (60%), most of you have considered that film will be around forever. So let us look at some of the facts that tell us exactly the opposite.

Editorial 38
January, 2002

January 2002


"Does the original matter?"

The image above was taken at a wonderful Natural Science Museum in La Plata, Argentina, which I was led to believe housed the world's largest herbivore dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. It didn't, but a few interesting anecdotes related to that visit are worth mentioning.

Editorial 37
December, 2001



"Terrorism and Film"

The fall out of what happened on Sept 11th has had repercussions in so many unanticipated ways; one of these has to do with taking photographic materials with you as you travel by air.

Editorial 36
November, 2001

November 2001


"The unthinkable is quite possible"

Bombs are falling on Afghanistan as I write. Most of you reading this probably have never been exposed to the horrors of having bombs explode around you, just as most of us outside the World Trade Center have a hard time fathoming what it meant to run down forty, sixty or eighty floors of stairs only to see everything collapse around in what was an unthinkable scenario of possibilities.

Editorial 35
October, 2001

October 2001


"Be wary of what you see!"

I have been warning about the level of misinformation going around the internet during these crucial times, suggesting that we should all learn to be very careful in questioning what we get to see.

Editorial 34
September, 2001

September 2001


"Crucial Times"

We are being confronted by a barrage of information these days that require we heighten our awareness of what it is that we are being fed, be these texts or pictures. One has to ask oneself, who is presenting the information? What are their motivations? How can I be sure that the information is correct? Etc.

Editorial 33
August, 2001

August 2001


"The little red plane"

The engine roars as the hand made airplane built out of recycled CocaCola parts flies over the sky while the sun starts to settle over the horizon. Who said that such a plane could not fly? If we want to, as all children prove to us on a daily basis, any plane can do so, you only need a bit of imagination. My six year old said: “this plane will only fly as long as your brain is alive”.

Editorial 32
June-July, 2001

June-July 2001


"An Ongoing Diary"

The editorial on this occasion is going to be a departure from our normal editorials, in that this is going to be a one month long dialogue in the long established format of a travel diary (dialogue because you can participate in the forums, making your comments and I will respond from the road).

Editorial 31
May, 2001

May 2001


"Why the future (of imaging) is digital"

I have always taken my video camera, and my still picture camera (both digital), to register “for posterity” such a momentous event in the family history.

Editorial 30
April, 2001

April 2001


"Hasta Luego" darkroom"

When I started in photography in the early fifties, we used to buy bulk film among a group of friends so that we could afford to buy the entire can with the equivalent of about 20 rolls of film, at a much cheaper price. The problem with loading one's own film in recycled canisters, was that such a solution all too often scratched the film. No matter how much one took care in avoiding this, somehow those miserable dark streaks running across the entire roll of film would rear their ugly head, ruining all the images in the process.

Editorial 29
March, 2001

March 2001


"Traditional Photography vs. Digital Photography "

It appears that a boxing match is taking place; in one corner we have "traditional" photography, and in the other, a new contender: "digital" photography.

Editorial 28
February, 2001

January 2001


"Tools vs. Content"

"It does not matter what the tools are, the important issue is what are the ideas."

You will probably have come across such a statement, here or there, made by people fending off any effort to discuss the tools of their trade.

Editorial 27
December, 2000

December 2000


"The Instant"

“It is the instant, the bird which is everywhere and nowhere”, according to Octavio Paz. “ We want to hold it alive, but it holds open it’s wings and vanishes, transformed into a handful of syllables”. With this poetic metaphor by one of the foremost Mexican poets we want to conclude the year which is the first of the new millennium. We want to thank you for all the instants that you have shared with us over time.

Editorial 26
October, 2000

October 2000


" What's going on? "

As we move ahead in this digital world of ever changing technological realities, speeding along at an ever-faster pace, we are confronted with events that somehow mirror this picture. Not only can we find the equivalents of a content puppy, but also those that are looking towards what for us are unknowns. We can’t really appreciate if the vantage point is of importance let alone know what are they looking at? In the end, what is the significance of what is going on for our continued existence?

Editorial 25
July, 2000

July 2000


"On the tighrope"

One would assume that people could easily be swayed to vote for change, not necessarily for the sake of change itself, but for new options that could greatly improve upon the status quo; especially as there are so many issues that speak to a change in power. That, however, was not the case. Not everyone sees eye-to-eye in the need for new leadership. In fact, although a majority of Mexicans voted for opposition parties (45 percent voted for the president-elect, and 18 percent for other parties), there were still 37 percent who voted to keep the present ruling party in power. They did not see any advantage to change; they feared loosing the benefits they have, modest as these might be.

Editorial 24
June, 2000

June 2000


"Family album"

IIt was in 1940 that my mother took this picture of me standing there in front of my father, Ernesto, both with our hands in our pockets; the photograph had been in the family album for a long time when I recently rediscovered it. Today, in addition to my first son Pablo, who is now inching towards 40, I have a second son, Julio, who is 5 years old. After seeing the picture in the album, I asked my wife Trisha to take a picture of Julio and me in the same identical pose as that of my father and me in that earlier image, standing in the park in Mexico City.

Editorial 23
May, 2000

May 2000


"The button on the carpet"

I went to a farewell party given for a friend of mine; it was in a home in the Hollywood Hills. I was standing around waiting for the food to be served when I noticed that a button had fallen off my shirt. I bent down to look for it on the floor and to my surprise I discovered lying right there before me an array of colors and shapes that I had not noticed before. My first reaction was to grab my camera and record an image of the moment. I have looked at that picture off and on for quite some time now; it has grown on me. I started to wonder why.

Editorial 22
April, 2000

April 2000


"Redefining Documentary Photography"

When presenting some of my digital pictures, I am frequently confronted with the comment: "but surely this is not a documentary photograph, is it?"

Before we move on to respond, let us first establish hopefully with some degree of clarity what we understand by a documentary photograph. As I see it, the intentions of a documentary photographer are to record some aspects of reality, by producing a depiction of what the photographer saw and which portends to represent that reality in as objective a manner as possible.

Editorial 21
March, 2000

March 2000


"On the threshold of light!"

As a child I was always intrigued by those particles of dust that seemed to be tumbling their way up following the path of light beams. My bedroom became a scenario for such light shows as light rays filtered through the blinds. I would think of myself becoming very tiny and climbing on to one of those traveling particles, and going off to a different world. A world from where light came.

Editorial 20
January, 2000

January 2000


"La Realidad" in the year 2000

The Zapatista movement in Chiapas invented a place in the jungle that went by the name of "La Realidad" (Reality), located in the southern part of Mexico. It became a geographic rallying point from which to launch many of their political communiquŽs. The Internet helped to bring much of the world's attention to what transpired in those parts no one was paying attention to. Although the place hardly existed, the fact is that La Realidad became a reality through repetition and the clever use of all media.

Editorial 19
December, 1999

December 1999


"There is no way like the American Way"

"I was driving recently down one of the beautiful avenues of Washington D.C. with a friend, when all of a sudden my eye caught a billboard above that archetype of Americana, a Diner. The interesting thing was that the sign I was looking at was a bit of Americana itself, a sign made ever so present in the 1937 picture by Margaret Bourke-White (MBW), created at the time of the Louisville flood."

Editorial 18
November, 1999

November 1999


"Why is the next century so far away?"

" If digital photography is supposed to be so great, why don't we see a lot more interesting work? Is a frequent question I hear."

Editorial 17
August, 1999

August 1999


"Do not touch"

"By now I have heard so many arguments about the intrinsic advantage of the "real" gallery space over the internet variant, that I find it deserves looking into in more detail. One recurrent theme that comes up is the idea related to touching photographs."

Editorial 16
July, 1999



"Street Photography"

" I started to notice a gradual disappearance of what traditionally was called "street photography". I could not find a suitable explanation for that until I traveled extensively throughout the United States in pursuit of fulfilling a Guggenheim Fellowship that I had received; the subject of the project was to capture street life in the United States"

Editorial 15
April, 1999

April 1999


"Photography and it's trails out of Kosovo"

"He had been walking for two days, in someone else’s clothes, trying to find a way of out of Kosovo when he came across a photograph lying, face up, by the side of the road."

"He looked, and looked again, at the pretty fair hair and blue eyes of the smiling child staring back at him from the crumpled picture. It was his daughter".

Editorial 14
January, 1999

January 1999


"The eye"

Even though the picture that appears in this editorial is only of the eye, it is intended to be a self portrait. There is nothing to suggest that a self portrait has to include all of the face, is there? The reason that I wanted to explore this image of the eye, is that it led me down the road to several topics which I found would be worthy of exploration.

Editorial 13
December, 1998

December 1998


"Las Vegas - Where does reality reside ?"

Why am I so fascinated by this city? Probably because it is the only place where I can make a photograph in which the outcome is an unaltered image which looks like a text book rendition of a layered digital fabrication created on a computer. A picture that is, to use a term very much appreciated by documentary photographers: a strictly "straight image." However this photograph is a deception in that it appears to be like a composite of several ones. Essentially it looks "fake." However, what do you call an image in which the subject matter to begin with is what is fake? So we go back to those basic dilemmas about photography, wherein does the deception lie? In the original or the reproduction? Or is it maybe our interpretation of it all?.

Editorial 12
August , 1998

August 1998


"Are scars beautiful?"

That depends on the beholder doesn't it. Scars invoke the memory of difficult moments. One could make the argument that society tries to avoid scars. In the first world a lot of women try to keep the scars of time away through the use of cosmetics and or surgery (now even men do) suggesting that they ‹the wrinkles‹ reveal age and ought to be something to vanish. However men are more willing to offer their scars as proof of having survived under duress, it's debatable that it exemplifies their maleness.

Editorial 11
June , 1998

June 1998


" Is she now mine?"

A few years ago, I received an e-mail from a Swedish student preparing his final report towards his degree in law school. He sent me a questionnaire on what he called then the "balancing of interests in a typical sampling-situation". He added: " I understand you work a lot with sampling pieces of old photographs in your work, and I'd like to get a feel for your attitude in this matter". He was obviously trying to establish what my criterion was around copyright issues from the perspective of an artist.

Editorial 10
February, 1998

February 1998

        The prestigious Prix ARS Electronica, from Linz, Austria, just sent out a wonderful book presenting the winners of their 1997 awards with a running commentary by the Jury that gave out these awards.We at ZoneZero had submitted our web site to this competition, thinking that it had a fair chance of receiving some sort of approval. So we were obviously disappointed when we did not receive so much as a footnote. But in good spirits we accepted the juror's prerogative to dismiss our efforts, after all that is one of the inevitable risks one takes when one enters a juried competition. So nothing to complain about on that level.

Editorial 9
November, 1997

November 1997

        As we move forward in this digital era, and as communications such as the internet take center stage, economic issues become central to our understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. Photography is right there in the midst of all these questions. But let us look at photography within the larger picture. If you are reading this you already belong to that sector of people considered as the "first world", no matter from where you are coming from.

Editorial 8.
August, 1997

August 1997


"Let us question the critics"

For me, one of the interesting development over these past few years has been the chasm between what the practitioners of digital photography experience and what their critics write about. I place myself on the side of the practitioners.

Editorial 7.
June, 1997

June 1997

        Over the past year the internet developed the delivery of sound with an ever increasing level of quality. This convinced us that we should be involved with this effort here at ZoneZero.

Editorial 6.
April ,1997

April 1997

        The issues surrounding the photographic representation are receiving increasingly a lot of attention as the digital age moves forward. I have been asked repeatedly if I believe that digitally altered images should be marked with a special symbol to differentiate them from, lets say, traditional images.

Editorial 5.
November, 1996

November 1996

        Very often we are asked how long we leave an exhibition. We have responded that as long as the author wants us to, we shall leave it there. This is similar to what happens with books in the library. What today is a novelty for someone, will become his or her reference tomorrow. Aside from the fact that it's always pleasurable to share with someone something that one has seen that is of interest, even though times has gone by.

Editorial 4.
August, 1996

August 1996

        This coming September (1996), ZONEZERO will have been operating for one year. What started out as a one person project has grown beyond our wildest dreams, essentially because of you the viewers coming to visit us, and therefore the photographic community wanting to share with you their work.

Editorial 3.
April, 1996

April 1996

        The great challenge that all of us face on the internet - both you the viewer and us the content providers - is to constantly question what we are doing in order to approach this new medium with renewed perspectives.

Editorial 2.

March 1996

        We are preparing ourselves for spring which is just around the corner. However the mammade world doesn't seem to move at the same rhytm as nature.

Editorial 1.
January, 1996

January 1996

        This has been a particularly exciting period getting ZONEZERO off the ground, and learning what works and what doesn't. What is needed and what is not.


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