Latin American Fotografia: Vanessa Rojo de la Vega

By David Schonauer   Wednesday June 15, 2016

It can be hard for a restaurant to stand out in New York City.

Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant in the city’s Flatiron District, garnered a great deal of attention when chef Daniel Humm introduced what the New York Times called “gee-whiz theatricality,” including a four-hour tasting menu.

When Travel+Leisure Mexico decided to feature the restaurant in its pages, the magazine assigned Vanessa Rojo de la Vega to shoot the pictures for the article. Born in Mexico City and now based in New York, Rojo de la Vega jumped at the chance. The result was a Latin American Fotografia-winning image (above).

“It was an amazing experience; everybody involved was super nice and helpful. They even let me try two of the dishes,” says Rojo de la Vega, who used a Canon 5D Mark II and Profoto strobes for the shoot. “We wanted to take any countertops and backgrounds out of the equation to give full focus to the food itself,” she says.

Rojo de la Vega actually began her photography career as a filmmaker. After studying communications and visual arts in Mexico City, she went to work at the DDB advertising agency. Later she joined the Bross y Asociados production house and spent two years as assistant director.

“But photography had been always a key part of my life. Everybody has the memory of me running around with a camera,” she says. So in 2010 she moved to New York and began studying at the International Center of Photography. As part of the program, she interned for Elisabeth Biondi, an independent curator and former visuals editor for the New Yorker. After graduating from ICP, Rojo de la Vega started working with the noted portrait photographer Martin Schoeller.

“Right now I'm focusing on portraiture, and I have been recently published in GQ Mexico and Life&Style magazines,” she notes. She has also worked on a number of personal projects, including one titled “Ghost Workers.” It captures what Rojo de la Vega calls “the invisible faces of Mexican immigrants through a silent narrative of stories, heritage and adaptation, of border crossings, fear, intense labor and anonymity" (below).

She describes another personal series, a motion project called “Unaware,” as a “path to self-discovery, a relentless confrontation with fear, death and the inevitable passing of time. The suffocating idleness, the anxiety of stillness. A long journey of tears" (below).

unaware I from vanessa rojo de la vega on Vimeo.


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