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!
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” .
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.
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!
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.
This is where real casco life can hide sometimes…. You see a beautiful, old and huge building from the outside, it’s all messed up, most of the doors are blocked by wooden panels and the whole structure totally needs a deep restauration… it’s hard to believe, looking from the outside, that there’s actually a “day to day life” inside those buildings, with families living there since generations… poor families that find their way to adapt to those magnificent spaces, once very elegant apartments, taking advantage of common spaces with multiple uses… those families are often forced to move somewhere else, in order to let the restaurations follow, but once the work is done, the rent raises incredibly, not to mention the selling prices….
In Monte Tamaro (Ticino, Switzerland), swiss architect Mario Botta leaves his sign with this Chapel, Santa Maria degli Angeli, perfectly positioned so that we can enjoy a spectacular view over the valleys and surrounding mountains… The building contrasts nicely with the landscape, as the water dispenser for the cows that usually graze on Monte Tamaro during summer time.
I took this shot during one of those never-ending nights, where you could do as many things as if it was a whole weekend. We were 4 friends hanging out, two girls, two boys.
Smokincoffee was driving us. We would start the night hanging out, probably driving around the city or eating somewhere… then we would enter into the Casco Antiguo (Old Town), walk from one bar to another, take a look at some places with unique lighting and weird elements, take photos, posing for photos in front of old buildings, going from a special spot to another, and then just walk through the streets, to finally go back to driving around the city… where we ended up throwing water balloons to people at 2am… (I would say the boys did) and stopping at service stations to fill them up…
I came up with this silly title after taking this shot, stopping by very fast while driving around in Casco… I really loved the special lighting and it was also a special fun night to remember.