Tag Archives: urban photography

Why The Watermarks?

For quite a while I have been absent from WordPress, DeviantArt, Flickr, Instagram and other internet outlets and social media, places where I used to regularly share my photographic and artistic works. The main reason was that I was discouraged to find one of my photos being used by a company without asking me permission — let alone letting me know.

Thieves come in all sizes.

After finding my photo being used (((in all glory))) in their website, I immediately contacted them. I never jump into conclusions, after all, maybe someone thought it would be a naive idea. So I figured, better to ask. And indeed I ask them, and what I thought would be a normal phone conversation swiftly escalated into an all-out confrontation.

Not only they denied it, but they questioned me how would I prove it was my photograph. I should tell you my photograph was heavily edited and cut so that my signature wouldn’t be visible. I was appalled by the bravado with which that fella (((with quite a manlet’s voice))) attacked me — a clear sign they knew they were wrong. It is a big company, and for some reason we still believe that they can’t be thieves. This should show — once again– that thieves come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.

Did anyone catch his name?

My resolve was to protest with bigger and louder watermarks. Something that would infuriate people, because after all that is what protests are about — aren’t they? Or perhaps I slept during my Anarchy 101 classes.

Any how, people did get angry with my watermarks. Apparently I did touch a fiber amongst photography and art lovers. At some point in Imgur people flooded with comments criticizing the watermark, instead of the work itself. Their attention turned towards the watermark signature en masse — well not literally, but you get the point. The joke that struck me the most was when an imgurian said, “Did anyone catch his name?”

The internet can make you believe you’re crazy.

At that point I decided to not post pictures anymore, photography or art-wise. Which now I know I was wrong. But at the moment I had an urge to disconnect to keep my sanity. Yes, the Internet can make you believe you’re crazy. And crazy things I did — like not sharing my art and photography any more.

Watermarks make them uncomfortable.

Slowly but surely I began to share again at Instagram, and for the past weeks at DeviantArt. Now I am returning. And we’ll see what new adventures my photographs take me to. Many people ask me about stories or anecdotes when taking photographs, especially street photography (because it may seem more invasive). I always tell people the backlash, the ignorant critique, and the raising eyebrows are what have got me more in trouble than the actual shooting of the picture. And now… the watermarks. Apparently people have no issue with nudes, candid shots, critter close-ups, or poverty pictures I document — watermarks make them uncomfortable. Well, here you go — kryptonite for our times. I always believed kryptonite was telling the truth, but oh well.



Mexico City’s main avenue

Photo I shot at Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue.

I did this long exposure photography while I was lying near where the cars passed in order to obtain this light effect.

Once an imperial boulevard during the times of the Second Mexican Empire led by Emperors Maximilian of Hapsburg and Carlotta of Belgium, today it is a financial and posh street. It has become the most important street in all of Mexico.

The independence column houses the remains of men and women who led the Mexican Independence War.

Commonly called the angel by Mexicans in general, in reality it’s the semi-nude Greek goddess of Victory.

Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Long Exposure in Mexico City. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Tultitlan Fair

Part of a photo series I shot at Tultitlan, in northwestern Mexico City metro area.

The municipality of Tultitlan celebrates each year the St. Anthony festivities, as the town’s streets are filled with mechanical games, food vendors, crafts to sell, improvised eating places, and late-night bars. Founded in ancient times by Tezozomoc, Huey Tlatoani (high ruler) of the Azcapotzalco altepetl (nation), as part of one of his plans to take over the neighboring Cuautitlan nation.

Once a Tepanec military post, Tultitlan now thrives with factories of blue-chip companies.

For many centuries it was a town separated from all other cities situated in the Cuautitlan Valley. But that changed, and nowadays Tultilan became engulfed inside the gargantuan-size city into which Mexico City’s urban sprawl has become. It is almost between one and a half to two driving-hours the distance between Tultitlan and Mexico City’s downtown (the Aztec Mexica capital of old). Now, they are within the same urban metro area, just as with many ancient indigenous capitals of old.

Tultitlan fair, Mexico. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.
Tultitlan fair, Mexico. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City’s cityscape, present and past.

Text and photograph by Miguel Omaña.

Taken from Buenavista district, this photo shows how the city looks looking to the South. I must say I was incredibly lucky to get such a view in a smog-infested city. After an afternoon rain, the sky of this ancient land tends to clear up for the remained of the day. This permits the eye to gaze the mountains and volcanoes that surround the gigantic urban sprawl.

Mexico City is no stranger to skyscrapers.

What you see below is Insurgentes Avenue, the longest non-stop avenue in the city, and apparently one of the longest in the world. The avenue leads towards the wall of buildings one can easily spot — this barrier is in fact Reforma Avenue. Contrary to what you see in cities of America, Canada, and Australia, the tallest buildings in Mexico City are not located in its downtown area. If any, Mexico City’s historical downtown has mainly old colonial and 19th century buildings (and a couple of 20th century grey-ish buildings here and there).

One can also see the mountains, which form part of the Ajusco peak (locally known as Cerro del Ajusco). One has to cross those mountains to go to say — Acapulco.

And even way before the Mexica Aztecs, many capitals thrived for centuries in this valley.

Mexico City is no stranger to skyscrapers. Way before the Hispanic people arrived to Anahuac — the original name of Mexico — the city had impressive buildings many stories high. Then called Mexico Tenochtitlan, the city knew tall buildings before New York. After all, the Big Apple is credited for having the for skyscrapers. But the Mexica — the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan, also known as Aztecs — were used to see massive palaces and tall structures (something that impressed Cortez). And even way before the Mexica Aztecs, many capitals thrived for centuries in this valley once occupied by a huge lake (actually various interconnected lakes).

The Colhuas, the Tepanecas, the Chichimecs of Tenayuca, Xaltocan, Zumpango, many knew tall buildings — except nobody built them a la New York. Earthquakes are a constant in this valley, and for millenia people had erected tall buildings in such a way that the rest of the world see them as pyramids. They’re actually not pyramids, those are in Egypt, temples were built to emulate mountains. What is sturdier that a firm mountain? That’s why ancient Mexican architectural prowess revolved in the mimic of nature itself.

Photo I shot at Mexico City. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.
Photo I shot at Mexico City. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.