Sunday, 30 October 2011

Selected Work: Adam Wiseman

La Mancha Urbana, which in Spanish means 'urban sprawl' is an ongoing photographic project using Mexico City and it's surrounding neighborhoods as subject matter. It is a portrait of a city, one that is often misunderstood, one that is impossible to fully understand. It is a chaotic, spontaneous, and unpredictable city where more than 26 million people live a mostly peaceful, mundane existence. A city that has its foundations rooted in class division, even from pre-hispanic times, and 500 years of corruption maintaining these class divisions in place. Life in this city is punctuated by moments of violence and the encroaching Narc wars are often on people's minds and lips. 

Mexico City has one of the worst reputations in the world, when I tell people who have never been that I live here they often cringe. It is thought of as corrupt, polluted, violent, backward, overcrowded and poor and yes it is all of those things, but it is not only these things, it is so much more. Most who come to Mexico City are pleasantly surprised and many then stay. This project is not one that is meant to shine a positive light on the city, it is simply a subjective portrait shot from the perspective of one of its residents, undoubtedly one who has benefited from belonging to a privileged class.

For this project I asked a close friend and talented art director, a lifelong Mexico City resident, to edit and design the book. Rigoberto Rocha's collaboration in this project is no less important to its final goal than mine. The pictures he has chosen to put in this book, where they go, how they are paired to create a visual and social juxtaposition create a poetry I would not have been able to achieve. This is truly a collaboration which would not be possible without both parties.

La Mancha Urbana will be shown as the main part of a solo exhibition in Mexico City at the 'Museo Archivo de la Fotografía' (MAF) in 2012.

Born in Mexico City (1970), Wiseman has lived in Mexico, NY, Scotland and Brazil.  He has a BA from NYU in Ethnographic Film (1992) and completed the Documentary Program at the International Center of Photography in NY (1996).

After living in NY for 13 years working as a freelance photographer and as fine printer for the Magnum photo agency, Wiseman returned to Mexico City in 2001.

He continues to work as a freelance photographer and photo editor in Mexico City. Wiseman has collaborated and his photographs have been published in such publications as Rolling Stone (USA), Metropolis(USA), The New York Times (USA), El Mundo (Spain), Le Monde 2 (France), The Telegraph Magazine (UK), Colors Magazine (Italy/USA), GQ (Spain), Revista Man (Spain), National Geographic en Español, Yahoo, Time Magazine  and Paris Match among others.  

His work has also been published in the books; ¨Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping¨ Rem Koolhaas/Tashen, ¨New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers¨ Powerhouse books, ¨Mutations¨ Actar, and "The Endless City" Phaidon/London School of Economics.
He has held exhibitions in Switzerland, Spain, NY, Mexico, Japan, at the 2006 Venice Biennal as well as having a photograph from 9-11 in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Currently working as a freelance photographer for local and foreign publications in Mexico City. His recent clients include El Colegio de Mexico, Wall Street Journal, Siemens, The Christian Science Monitor, and Wallpaper  Magazine.

To view more of Adam's work visit

All images © Adam Wiseman