Alejandro Cartagena, Carpoolers, 2014

Cover back and front

Cover back and front


It is a gifted photographer who is able to find the hidden or extraordinary in things or situations that, though around us in our daily lives, often pass us by. Alejandro Cartagena’s Carpoolers is a classic example of this. His camera points down from a bridge onto the highway, stretching from the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo across the border to the United States. Cartagena’s subjects are the numerous pick-up trucks on their way to work and back. This change of perspective reveals to us a hidden world or culture even. Passengers are laid out in the back of each truck, surrounded by their various possessions. Tight cropping excludes everything around the truck except a small section of the road, emphasizing the frame-like quality, presenting us the contents as tableaux, in belief-defying sharpness. A quality which, though it casts some doubt as to the actual spontaneity and verisimilitude of the images, certainly lends to the idea of the image as a painting. Each person or grouping is so still, so perfectly composed that these confined spaces take on an almost religious significance, resembling the grave good arrangements found on prehistoric burial sites. This religious aspect is emphasized by the sporadic addition of images of the sky over their heads.
A wonderful social study and conceptional work.

The book comes beautifully packaged in brown paper held together by a sticker with the words ‘please carpool’. The cover has a cut out window allowing a peak onto the first image in book.

An additional poster curated by Larisa Leclair shows a selection of 99 cars.

A newspaper page glued in.

Text by Jessica S. McDonald

Self published 2014 in an edition of 1000 copies.

The book was also published in an edition of 40 in a clamshell box including an signed 8 x 10 print.


Alejandro Cartagena’s website:

Also available at Anzenberger gallery’s bookstore:


Hard cover with cut out

120 pages including 3 fold outs and many short cuted pages

App. 21.7 x 33.4cm

Brown paper packaging back and front

Brown paper packaging back and front