Laura Carbonell is an independent curator born in Colombia in 1986. Graduated at Sciences Po in Paris in 2011, she entered the art field working with the director of Editions Autrement, the independent publishing house in France known for its high quality illustrated book series. She then became bookseller at LE BAL, the exhibition space located in the north of Paris. In 2015 she founded the experimental book platform with the aim of exploring the photobook field in a series of brain storming sessions, courses and written essays carried on together with a community of curators, designers, publishers and photographers.
Her approach to photography books is based on a long-term research activity opening the field of photography to the influence of anthropology, architecture, science, sound art, video and other visual arts.

Image caption
(Cover) Guadalupe Ruiz, from the series Nada es Eterno
(01) Juan Orrantia, from the series Bittersweet Forest
(02) Juan José Gómez, from the series the transit 
(03) Andrés Donadio, from the series Niebla: Visiones del Salto
(04) Mateo Gómez García, from the series Paradise
(05) Guadalupe Ruiz, from the series Bogotá D.C.
(06) Camilo Amaya, from the series In /Signe
(07) Agustín Zuluaga Olarte, from the series Santísimo Sacramento

Since 2010, the Colombian photographic scene has been experiencing a very silent revolution. One that has given to printed photography a place in the art scene. Before galleries, museums and festivals started opening a new space for the photobook, there were only a few small-run printed activities in the heart of the commercial and industrial neighborhoods in Cali, Medellin and Bogotá.

A group of no more than a dozen independent publishers were making immense efforts to fund and diffuse the books they created in their own ateliers. With an incipient editorial scene still fragmented and fighting to remain alive, most of the involved publishers have developed a selective book catalogue with 5 to 10 books per year, printed in very small runs. Most of them have already worked on a recognizable graphic mark and have now a well-defined editorial identity.

Before making photobooks, some Colombian publishers could already count a list of sophisticated graphic and illustrated series of book; I think in particular of Laguna Libros, Calipso Press and Taller Arte dos Gráfico. Others decided to take immense risks, publishing exclusively photobooks with very small budgets and distributing their titles through international book festivals in Latin America. Among them: La Silueta Ediciones, Kitschic Ediciones Croma Taller Visual and Inversa Ediciones.

As most of the old printer industries like OP Gráficas have been closing down all around the country, these adventurous publishers managed to survive, isolated as they are with the crisis of the printing industry. Without a distribution network, these publishers have managed to connect with NADA, the only bookstore in Colombia specialized in art books. Under the influence of La Silueta Ediciones, most publishers in Colombia have developed a very promising event gathering the independent Latin-American editorial scene at the MAMBO Museum and the ARTBO Fair, two times a year, working hand-in-hand with The Archive of Modern Conflict in London. In October 2017, the founders of Inversa Ediciones launched the first photobook fair at Valenzuela Klenner Gallery in Bogotá, with the aim of gathering a community of photobook makers and readers.

Curiously enough, that prolific editorial scene has not integrated some of the most radical contributors to photography in the country. It was at the margins of that editorial scene that a group of Colombian photographers started to emerge. PUNTO DE FUGA, the experimental book platform I founded in 2015, decided to explore some of the most striking photographers that have not been exhibiting or publishing their recent work. Most of them refused to use digital cameras, preserving part of the delicate photographic process that film photography requires.

If there was a word to describe these young generation, it would be discretion and reserve, as most of them work as hermits, isolated from the art scene. Their images are not only preserving an essential element of surprise in the entire photographic process, they also interrogate Colombian identity in its territory and violent reality with subtlety and humor. YET magazine invited me to interview six of them. Here are their thoughts, dreams, memories, fears and - of course - their images.