Brooklyn-based photographer Chandler Bondurant spent time traveling through Mexico City down to the state of Oaxaca, capturing on film the bright colors and contrasts between the urban architecture of the capital, and the blazing sunshine in the Oaxacan countryside.
Having first picked up a camera in high school, Bondurant was immediately fascinated by the technical aspect of photography. “From there, I spent all of my time learning and really delving into the craft”, he explains to IGNANT. “Whenever I wasn’t working or in school, I was out taking photos. But it wasn’t until much later that I decided to go back to school and pursue it as my full-time job.” Earlier this year,Bondurant and his partner took time away from their jobs to fly to Mexico, moving through the cosmopolitan capital and venturing down to tranquil Oaxaca for ten days. “It was exactly what we wanted; a perfect contrast between a lively urban center and nature”, he says.
On day two of the trip, Bondurant turned his attention to the camera. “The driving force behind the photos was simple,” he explains of his intentions. “Many Westerners come to Mexico and for the most part, I think that their photos reflect their own world views onto the people and scenarios they are photographing, mostly with a bit of negativity,” he says. “I wanted to portray Mexico in a very non-subjective way, and tried hard to create compositions that were unique and emotional.”
Indeed, Bondurant’s photos do not rely on exoticism—it was more important to him to portray emotion through a delicate balance of color, line, and tone. “I wanted to illustrate the feeling of what it felt like to be there,” he explains. “It was hot, the cities and landscapes were exploding with color, and spring was on its way out to make room for summer. The more important visual aspects were the architecture and urban structure of Mexico City, as well as the vivid colors and warm, bright sunlight of Oaxaca”.
“It was hot, the cities were exploding with color, and spring was on its way out to make room for summer"
“I wanted to portray Mexico in a very non-subjective way, and tried hard to create compositions that were unique and emotional”
Much contrast exists between the two places, providing visual inspiration for Bondurant to capture. The photographer has shared the below images with IGNANT: a mixture of architecture, documentary, landscape, and still lifes, each imbued with an aura of quiet contemplation. “There’s definitely a sense of that,” he agrees, “because I was very much trying to create an objective and fair but emotionally stimulating body of work.” Although color, composition, and lighting the scene are important, ultimately “it was important to me to capture the emotion of the scene,” he says. “This may seem odd given I mostly shoot still frames rather than bustling photos full of movement, but I think even the most mundane of scenes can convey a great amount of nostalgia and emotion.”