The Church “Cristo a Orillas del Mar” in Colón, Rep. of Panama: a restoration project

My recent work has been related to a great work of detailed restoration (executed by local Panamanian architect restorer Jorge Arosemena with advisor architect restorer Daniel Young-Torquemada), which took 3 years and was finished in August 2014. The photos were recently published to Revista Area, Issue no. 11 (March 2015).

This church was originally designed by the famous North American architect James Renwick (also known for designing “St.Patrick’s Cathedral” on 5th Avenue, New York City and the “Smithsonian Institution” in Washington) and was built in 1865, in a “Gothic Revival” style. The church, one of the oldest buildings in the City of Colón, presented a high level of damage before these restoration works took place.

It represents one of the richest architectural monuments in the whole country, worth a visit for its unique style present in the region and for its beautifully crafted details.

Restaurante La Fragata: New Design by Sara Battelli & Partners

Some time ago I was able to photograph the new Restaurante la Fragata, awarded with “Best Leisure of Central and South America Property Awards”, designed by Sara Battelli & Partners, a swiss architect based in the Republic of Panama.

When the former Restaurante La Fragata (a historical restaurant in Obarrio, Panama City) was sold to a new owner, she was commissioned the challenging redesign of both the exterior and interior, giving a whole new atmosphere and unique character to it.

The concept for this project is the boat (the “frigate”), and each detail, inside and outside the place, recalls this atmosphere, giving to the gourmet experience a new addition: the feeling of being inside a cozy boat while having a sophisticated meal.

 

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Ana + Steffen wedding at surfing beach resort Playa Venao

Could’t ask for more for this professional experience… a small, intimate wedding at a beach resort!

This couple is so much fun, as well as their families… I even ended up dancing with them after they insisted I should join them in a non-stop dancing night, celebrating the happiness of this wonderful couple!

I shot this event last month, together with my favourite second-shooter, my husband!
Teamwork couldn’t be more awesome when done with your partner! Endless fun, infinite inspiring moments to capture!

Here’s a small selection of this beautiful experience…!!! ENJOY! xoxo

 

Exploring and documenting new areas of Panama: living in Santa Ana neighborhood

What I love about photography, is the constant appearance of new people and settings for each photoshoot; this makes the experience super exciting, and the way I see it, is to always try to focus on the client’s very personal environment.

Most of the clients I have are also good friends, or turn into an interesting new level of friendship.

This is the case of my friend Lili. I met her through the Theater Guild of Ancon, the magic place where all begun thanks to my husband, where I first got the opportunity to experiment my photographic skills with people during non-profit theater productions, where I met my first clients, and where I always have fun and feel at home.

Lili is part of this community, where she sometimes helps out mostly with costumes and make up. I got to photograph her randomly during Point Break Live Panama production, she loved the photo I took of her, and asked me to capture more photos that captured her essence the way she saw in that photo.

For me this is the most flattering request, since the whole idea behind my photos is to express a very personal essence or moment, so I was really happy to do it. Plus she lives in a very interesting area of Panama’s downtown Casco Viejo / Santa Ana, so for me was going to be one of the most exciting photoshoots, capturing her in her day to day living area.

Even though I work very close by this area and I have been there in the past, I never went there with my camera before. In the beginning I felt it could be quite dangerous, but since Lili knows the folks pretty well, she assured me there was nothing to be afraid of. So off we went… into a series of interesting, sometimes hidden spots, and ran into interesting characters that hang out there.

This is the result of this fun shoot!

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Point Break Live comes to Panama!

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The Theater Guild has a new play coming up next 20th of June, this time with a ‘90s classic from the famous movie “Point Break” [1991].

Point Break Live is a theater adaptation from the movie, with an interesting twist, each night a member of the audience will perform in it as Keanu Reeve’s character Johnny Utah!

These guys over here are the Ex Dictators, “a surf gang who robs banks to finance their endless summer”!

The photoshoot for the marketing of this play has been divided in two main locations, one in a couple of interesting spots in Casco Viejo (like the photo above, two weeks ago) and the second one took place yesterday, in a completely different location, a buses cemetery just outside Panama City, focusing on the gang with surfers outfits only. The photos will be released from time to time while opening night gets closer.

The Real Estate Boom in Panama

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This photograph was taken in 2008 from a 64 story building in Punta Paitilla (Panama City). It was right before the big world financial crash, and Panama was living the construction “boom”. Somehow I still feel this photo represents strongly Panama City today, with all these constructions everywhere. Still, real estate construction never really stopped during the world crisis. Instead, it continued, even if slowly. I wonder how it will look like in 10 years!

What happens to Casco Viejo’s old houses?

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Many poor families have been living for generations in most of Casco Viejo’s old [unrestored] buildings, and some of them are forced to leave their homes at a certain point, due to restoration needs and their costs.

Most of these buildings were abandoned by the owners who let them fall apart: these houses have received no maintenance for years (some of them up to around 40 years) and many of them became dangerous to live in.

It’s a hard reality in Casco Viejo, where most of its charm comes from these local residents and their lifestyle. When they leave their rented homes, the property is usually restored by the owner or promoter, and then sold or rented to someone with better financial facilities, since the cost of construction is now so elevated. Usually it’s a foreigner or, who just wants to have a beautiful colonial house in the Old District of Panama.

Unfortunately, the government doesn’t help much either to promote Social Housing in Casco Viejo, in order to maintain a higher percentage of locals living in the area.