This week, Mexico City’s Centro Banamex will be filled with gallerists and collectors for the second edition of ZsONAMACO FOTO, the photography-focused sister fair of ZsONAMACO. Like the 24 exhibitors—hailing from as close as Mexico City and as far as Turin—the works on view reflect both deep roots in local culture and engagement with international issues, such as the European refugee crisis. Here are seven of our favorites.
Santiago Arau, T l a t e l o l c o , M é x i c o D F, 2015
’s subjects express the social and political climate of the country he calls home. Here, a soccer player is frozen mid-jump against an otherwise monotonous gray apartment block in Mexico’s capital city. Other works from this series are dramatic aerial shots—Arau often works with drones, which he says are the only way to capture certain aspects of the massive, sprawling metropolis.
Mara Sánchez Renero, El Cimarrón y su fandango: Los Diablos, 2014
In total, some 200,000 Africans were enslaved and sent to Mexico before the country abolished slavery in 1829. Their descendants have become known as “Afro-Mexicans,” a marginalized and unrecognized group that
began photographing in 2014 for her series “The Cimarron and Fandango,” specifically in the Costa Chica region of southern Mexico. In this image, costumed members of the Afro-Mexican community perform the traditional “Danza del Diablos,” a ritual that harkens back to centuries-old African customs.
’s photographic practice, but they are not easy to shoot in his home country of China. The Beijing-based artist has been arrested for taking such photographs outside, and Chinese galleries often refuse to exhibit his work. Yet Ren continues to shoot in his signature style—each image a surreal, playful look at the naked human form, often interacting with the built or natural world in unexpected ways. These works attracted the attention of Chinese contemporary giant
has spent the last five years documenting the refugee crisis, traveling across North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe on various assignments. Things they carried (2015) was shot for the New York Times, part of a series chronicling the work of a Milan laboratory that compiles databases of personal effects from refugee shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. The objects—wallets, photographs, this waterlogged Nokia cell phone—are then used to help identify the victims. Captured by Bucciarelli, they also serve as haunting portraits of those lost at sea.
Anika Schwarzlose, Disguise and Deception: Platform, 2011
first heard about the German army unit that is developing camouflage technology and building decoy weapons—established as a special unit of the National People’s Army in the former GDR and continued to this day—she felt an immediate affinity. “They’re coming from a very different angle than an artist, but they’re still in the business of creating illusions,” she noted. The German artist’s 2014 series “Disguise and Deception” examined the output of this military group: inflatable tanks, fake rocks containing cameras, or blankets masking machinery from heat-seeking sensors.
The Mexican photographer’s earlier series “Siete Cerros” (2014) explored the agricultural landscape of his home country with wide, cinematic shots—endless furrows of pale dirt receding into the distance or a tractor driving under the huge blue dome of the sky.
, a farmer himself, takes another look at the fields in Quema 1 (2016); this time, however, a haze of dark smoke hangs over the scene. Dramatic and moody, the photograph captures the polarizing Mexican practice of burning tires during the winter to project crops from frost.
, who grew up in communist-controlled East Germany, was an early adolescent when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Finally free to leave, his neighbors began to move away; soon, Richter began exploring the empty buildings they left behind, eventually bringing along a digital camera. Decades later, the 36-year-old photographer is still hunting down and documenting dilapidated interiors for his series “Abandoned” (2011–present). Richter has travelled across Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, and Poland for his work, but obscures the locations of his images to prevent vandals from following in his footsteps and damaging the buildings’ decaying beauty.