Alex Coghe is an Italian photographer and photojournalist from Rome who has been living in Mexico City for the past three years. Mexico City has become quite important to Alex in his time there. “Mexico City gave me everything: a beautiful wife, my job, my pets, and also a completely different perspective of the world,” he explains. Alex’s work has been featured in exhibitions in Spain, Italy and the United States.
He also has a passion for writing, “If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d be a poor writer offering my books to editors.” And he has in fact published several books of his photography and on the topic of street photography, in addition to his role as co-founder and photo editor of Hype Park Photography Magazine.
Alex has been using the Leica X2 to document life around Mexico City, particularly in Chapultepec Park, which was one of the first places he visited upon arriving in Mexico.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I am a dynamic person, curious about the world around me. I have always been a creative: first a writer then also a photographer. I love people; I like the human touch and to know the ideas and ways of thinking of others, especially when original. Maybe that’s why I especially love to socialize with people related to the world of art. I have friends all over the world and the internet is a great help for this. I put passion into everything I do.
Q: Which are the most important things in life to you?
A: I would like to answer this question, first of all, with the word “serenity.” This is the key for me. And of course, love is a crucial part in this. I crossed the ocean to reach the woman of my life. It is so important, maybe the most important, to do things with ethics and respect for others.
Q: Why and how did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I simply indulged an impulse. Photography was already an important part of my life; I did not want to die filing paperwork from 9 to 5. A career in photography is not always easy, but photography is part of me around the clock. Photography has completely changed the way I see the world. I believe that I have become the man I am thanks to my profession.
Q: What do you do on a typical working day?
A: Woosh! A lot of things. but it’s great that each day is never the same as the other. I work almost every day from dawn to night because my business is full of commitments: articles, marketing activity, researching, teaching, meetings with partners and clients, and naturally photography. I am shooting on a daily basis.
Q: Which aspects of life do you want to capture or document?
A: I want to capture the extraordinary, the surreal aspect, the unique moments in everyday life. At the same time my focus is documenting the human condition through my background as a photojournalist.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Inspiration can come from anything. Basically, I would say that the main source of inspiration are the people, with their natural, spontaneous gestures. When I’m in the street I observe so much. Photography is essentially a matter of observation, where pressing the shutter is only the final act. I love to talk about energy. When I am in the street my focus is on capturing the energy. The flow of people is like a stream and the photographer is like a surfer, he must be able to perceive when it’s time to ride the wave.
Q: How important is the camera itself to you?
A: The camera is important as a working tool. There is no perfect camera. And no camera will transform someone into a photographer if they are not one. I would say that for a photographer it is essential to choose the right camera, since it will be their constant working partner. For me, is important to have a camera that I will use for a long time. I’m not interested in changing cameras every year because the more I work with the same camera, the more it will become an extension of my arm and my way of looking at the world. I think Leica is able to guarantee this.
Q: Based on your individual way of taking photos, what special requirements should a camera meet?
A: Seriously I think the Leica X2 is really close to my ideal camera. My requirements for a camera are: to be inconspicuous, lightweight and compact, with good image quality. Most of the time I work holding the camera with one hand, secured to the wrist. Over the past three years for my work in the street I have used the same lens, a 35 mm equivalent.
Q: What excites you about the subject “People of Chapultepec” in general and as a photographer?
A: Chapultepec is a kaleidoscope of situations, colors and characters. We are talking about the largest city park in the Western Hemisphere where every day tourists and citizens flock to the various attractions: the zoo, the castle, the flyers of Papantla, the amusement park and the lake. It is an incredible location to find interesting photographic opportunities. As a photographer, Chapultepec is one of my favourite places in Mexico City.
Q: What was your goal with this project?
A: I wanted to capture the energy of everyday life in the park, life shots with a touch of the surreal, which are so typical of Mexico. I would like to document the diversity, contrasts, the shadows, the lights and the charm of light kissing this forest. With this project I want to document the human conditions of Mexicans in a space different from the normal urban environment. I think that my story will show them in a more relaxed moment.
Q: What about this park fascinates you and why is it so important for you?
A: Chapultepec is one of the first places I visited here in Mexico City. Accustomed to the old Europe, everything here was huge for me. Well, after three years, Chapultepec continues to be huge. It is a magical place for me where you can meet Spiderman or “Capitán América,” where you can decide to visit the Museum of Anthropology or feed the squirrels.
Q: What do you think about the Mexican culture? Are you a part of it, or rather an observer?
A: I believe that it is impossible to think that after three years, of not integrating into a culture that is part of my everyday life. I am already a Mexican in part. I find Mexican culture is not so far from the Italian and perhaps this has helped me to integrate more easily.
Q: What do you think about Mexican people? How would you describe their character and their mentality?
A: I would say that the majority of Mexicans are incredibly friendly people, good, with a great sense of family and quite the traditionalists. Maybe they are more accustomed to living life day-by-day, taking what comes and perhaps this is the secret to living more serenely.
Thank you for your time Alex!
– Leica Internet Team
To see more of Alex’s work, visit his website www.alexcoghe.com and read his blog.