A Photo Teacher |

Pedro Meyer

Posted in USD-Guad | ART 160V by Paul Turounet on July 6, 2007

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Pedro Meyer is one of the pioneers and innovators in the development and use of digital technology in contemporary photography. Since the advent of digital photography, Meyer has been a leading voice, advocate and practitioner in the transition from the world of the darkroom and analog photography to the possibilities of digital photography, the computer and the Internet.

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Meyer created the important Latin American Colloquium of Photography and founded the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía (Mexican Council of Photography). In 1990, he created the first CD-ROM containing photographs and sound, entitled I Photograph To Remember, a memorial and portrait of the last year in the life of his parents.

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In 1993, he developed ZoneZero, an extraordinary website which he continues to maintain devoted to photography with interactive exhibitions that incorporate photographs, sound, video and and text by photographers from all over the world. In addition to the extensive online exhibitions (exhibitions are added every month), smaller portfolio exhibitions in which anyone can submit work for consideration to be shown, and ebooks for download on the website, Meyer writes monthly, thought-provoking editorials on the current state of photography and the nature of photography’s transition from analog to digital. The website is visited by nearly 500,000 people each month, making it one of the most visited website for content on photography on the web.

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Pedro Meyer was born in 1935 in Madrid, Spain. He emigrated with his family to Mexico in 1937 and five years later became a Mexican citizen. Meyer began teaching himself photography with a second-hand twin-lens reflex camera he had received for his 13th birthday. The first retrospective of his work was held in 1973 at the Instituto Mexicano-Norteamericano de Relaciones Culturales de la Ciudad de México and he has had solo exhibitions in Mexico, United States as well as throughout Europe and Central and South America. His work is part of many important collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York to name a few. He received the very first grant for a web-based project from the Rockefeller Foundation, and in 1987, was the recipient of a Guggenheim grant to photograph in the United States.

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Meyer began as a documentary photographer in the early 1960’s, photographing on the streets of Mexico City. In 1978, he traveled extensively through Nicaragua and was the first photographer to take pictures of the rebel Sandinistas in their training camps in their attempt to overthrow the Anastasio Somoza dictatorship. He started experimenting with digital photography to subvert our faith in the photographic image in the early 1990’s, which culminated in the monograph, Truths & Fictions – A Journey from Documentary to Digital Photography, published by Aperture in 1995. Meyer later published, The Real and The True – The Digital Photography of Pedro Meyer, which includes photographs and reprints of his editorials from ZoneZero.

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I think its very important for people to realize that images are not a representation of reality. The sooner that myth is destroyed and buried, the better for society all around.

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We still do not “make” the photograph, as one would make a painting, or a ceramic pot where the content is a total fabrication. The making in this instance is more akin to how we compose images in our brain, as in memory reconstructions. We create layers of various origins and place these in the context of what and how we perceive reality, but in essence they were all photographic in their origin. The image is a representation of what would otherwise be a story, as told by ancestors who recreate myths of events that allegedly occurred at some moment in time.

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For more of Pedro Meyer’s thoughts on photography and digital technology, (click here), click on Previous Editorials, and proceed to scroll/click on the following:

Editorial 77
Where does painting start and photography end?

Editorial 70
Everyone is a photographer these days

Editorial 42
Color vs Black and White!

Editorial 39
How long will film be around?

Editorial 30
“Hasta Luego” darkroom

Editorial 28
Tools vs Content

Editorial 22
Redefining Documentary Photography

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In October 2008, Meyer’s Heresies retrospective comprising of four decades of work will open simultaneously in 100 museums worldwide, including Casa del Lago and Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, Casa Escorza (Universidad de Guadalajara) and Museo de Arte de Zapopan in Guadalajara, Centro Cultural Tijuana in Tijuana, Baja California, and the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, California.

Pedro Meyer’s website is http://www.pedromeyer.com (click here) and the ZoneZero website is http://www.zonezero.com (click here).

All photographs and editorial content © Pedro Meyer and ZoneZero

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