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Cobalto es Azul: Documenting Mérida’s unique architecture

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Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Given Mérida’s immense growth and the constant evolution of architectural styles, architectural photography is faced with the task of capturing the physical space and its habitable essence. Professional

Cobalto es Azul, a project by Pedro Castro, is a social media profile focused on observing and documenting Mérida’s architecture.

Lagalá gallery in Mérida, Yucatán.
Lagalá gallery in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

Castro completed his architecture studies seven years ago, at Yucatán’s state university, UADY. Born and raised in Mérida, he has experienced firsthand the evolution of the city, its changing trends, and the rebirth of its living spaces.

Project Itzimná 28, living room.
Project Itzimná 28. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

He admires photographers such as Pía Riverola, a Spanish fashion photographer who captures most of her work on film, and Alejandro Cartagena, a documentary photographer whi examines social, urban, and environmental issues.

“You can find knowledge and inspiration in photography of all kinds. The way one portrays, captures colors and details, that is the camera’s universal language.”

Project Itzimná 28.
Project Itzimná 28. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

Cobalto es Azul means “cobalt is blue”, a literal description of the color and the pigment. In 2017 it became Pedro’s online moniker.

Casa Oliva in Mérida, Yucatán.
Casa Oliva. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

“I started out in photography by doing small jobs for people that I happened to know. My very first photography jobs involved photographing t-shirts, not buildings,” Pedro recalls.

As a student, he made relationships which later developed into professional projects.

“Jimena Duval, a classmate and friend from college, helped get me discovered in the world of architectural photography. She’s a graphic designer who works with different businesses in downtown Mérida. She introduced them to my work.”

One of the first places he photographed was the gallery, restaurant and boutique Lagalá, located on Calle 56.  

Lagalá gallery in Mérida, Yucatán.
Lagalá gallery in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

“I was very pleased with the result, and so were the owners. Once the job was finished, they asked me to document other similar projects,” says Pedro. “From there, more and more photography work emerged.”

Facade of La 68 gallery in Merida.
Facade of La 68 gallery in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

Pedro often travels the city by bicycle, which allows him to pay particular attention to the streets as he wanders. He enjoys capturing the illumination of the sun in alleys, as well as interesting shadows, such as those produced by trees.

In 2018 he participated in a Lagalá exhibition called Mírame Mérida (Look at Me Mérida), where he highlighted the role observation has in his work.

IMOX Boutique, in Mérida, Yucatán.
IMOX Boutique, in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

“The city is there to be seen and lived. It is important to learn to observe. Capturing what a space is like is very valuable, but we must learn to live that space while we inhabit it. That’s how we learn to truly see what surrounds us.”

Spaces like Mírame Mérida have led Pedro to several photography projects, all of which have emerged organically, helping him sustain his passion.

Project Itzimná 28.
Project Itzimná 28. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

Pedro often plays with shadows and lights, as well as with geometry. He looks for breaks in spaces, exploring every nook and cranny.

“Each project has its own personality. If given the opportunity, I like to visit a space before documenting it, especially to account for the light. People don’t often think about how lighting changes a place. It gives photos a whole other tone.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Mesa-de-trabajo-9@300x-100-1-1024x768.jpg
La 68 gallery in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Cobalto es Azul.

Pedro works as an architect at Taller Estilo Mérida, a firm focused on remodeling homes in the downtown area. 

Learn more about his work on his social media profile Cobalto es Azul.

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