Happy New Year everyone! Yes… it’s true… this is my FIRST blog post of 2013!
Well my friend Sherese has decided to come visit me here in Medellín for the month of February. We have had a lot of fun together getting to reconnect again. When coming down for the trip I told her to leave her PC and SLR Camera back in the States and that she could use mine while she was here. Instead, she has decided to take on a new task of seeing things from a new prospective by taking all of her photos with her cell phone which can be quite frustrating for a photographer – no zoom (well no REAL zoom)! However, it has been a great challenge for her and she has gotten me to take my phone out a bit and take some photos as well.
Make sure to check out Sherese’s blog – Life Defused. This blog post is about her own phone-tography as we took a 5 hour walking tour of Envigado (southern suburb of Medellín). Check out her other posts in order to inspire yourself!
Here is a look at our walk around the city via my cell phone lens. All photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket and edited with the Snapseed app.
Medellin is ready to move from an industrial city to an information city. Technology is on the boom here and they have their eyes on being the next “Silicone Valley” of Latin America. There are a number of new programs and businesses here trying to help jump start the transition.
Ruta N was founded not to long ago to help business see a new type of future – that of information and technology with the help of raising money and funding projects for new entrepreneurs. One program that is grooming these new kids is Coderise. Their motto is: Code. Inspire. Create. Coderise is teaching kids how to code (program) in developing countries and they are starting with Medellin, Colombia. Check out this article in which the Coderise Director, Andrea Cornejo, gives some insightful views about the vision and future of Coderise.
Coderise brought in a guest speaker the other day to help encourage the young kids by giving them the chance to hear directly from a very successful Colombian entrepreneur: Alex Torrenegra. Some have gone as far as calling him the “Mark Zuckerberg of Colombia”. Alex has founded a number of companies but his biggest success (and passion) has been with VoiceBunny. The main concept of VoiceBunny is to put potential professional speakers in contact with the big studios for hire. For example, one of their largest clients is Pixar. For one of the Toy Story movies Pixar was in need of a Latino voice to use for Buzz Lightyear when he temporarily spoke Spanish after he was hit in the head. Pixar used VoiceBunny to search for the best Latino voice and hired that person (speaker) directly through their website.
I was given the privilege to hear Alex Torrenegra speak which was truly inspiring. He is a sharp guy with a natural calmness to himself which gives you the sense that he was born to be an entrepreneur and has enjoyed it every step of the way.
With their doors wide open and welcoming in Medellin entrepreneurs, ESPACIO is now in full gear. They have many events planned including some of the top speakers from around Colombia. Here is a peak inside the office. I took the official photos for them which can also be found on their website.
Thursday evening – October 11, 2012 – was the official launch party of ESPACIO. It was a pure success! Hundreds of people showed up to help celebrate the new ESPACIO in Medellin. ESPACIO was prepared with a beer keg from 3 Cordilleras and a slew of red wine for everyone to enjoy. The founders took time out to do a quick presentation in order for everyone to know what ESPACIO was all about, in case they had not heard about it already. There is no question that on that night the heart of Parque Lleras was this launch party. In case you missed out on the celebration – ZEFER FOTO was there to capture the energy throughout the entire night!
Every few weekends my girlfriend, some friends, and I get away from the city life. The greatest part about Medellin is that nearly every weekend you can drive into the mountains and enjoy the little towns nearby the city. There are an unbelievable amount of towns that lie within just a few hours of Medellin. One weekend we stayed at a friends “cabana” in La Pintada just a few hours south of Medellin. Here is a quick look at part of our trip.
The other day I was given the opportunity to photograph a new office space called ESPACIO being opened up in Medellin, Colombia. My friend (and ESPACIO co-founder), Conrad Egusa, contracted me to photograph the office which opened its doors this past week.
Photographed below is the new home page of ESPACIO. This is one of the photos I took of their main room with the garden wall in the background.
The office is designed to be a co-workers space in which entrepreneurs of all areas (designers, artists, start-up businesses, photographers, marketers, accountants, etc.) will share one large office space which will allow them to easily mingle with one another and support their co-workers in their areas of their specialty. Included will be a large presentation room, meeting room, and “phone booths” (soundproof room for Skype calls) for members to use when needed. Aesthetically the office is decorated with modern white furniture, a full garden wall (photographed above), a waterfall near the entrance, and lights galore throughout the entire office. One great aspect to the project is that they have decided to split their membership between local Colombian entrepreneurs and foreign entrepreneurs from around the world that now call Medellin their home.
So today I thought I would share a personal post with everyone. A few weeks ago I was invited to dance with my girlfriend’s salsa group for a performance here in Medellin, Colombia. One of the members of the group is currently studying abroad in Italy for a year so they needed someone to perform in his place. I agreed and it turned out to be a great time. We were quite surprised by the size of the crowd when we arrived as it turned out to be a very large event held on a covered basketball court. We had a few worries about trying to spin on the concrete but in the end it didn’t turn out to be much of a problem.
Casino Salsa is a bit different because instead of just using couples it is done with a group of couples. The dance consists of switching partners and dancing in a circle (rueda). In case anyone isn’t sure – I am the one with the beard 😉
After our performance the crowd cheered us on for an encore. We performed an extra number but it was all improved. Casino Salsa is a cuban style of salsa in which one person yells out the different moves (when it is not choreographed) and everyone follows in sync. It was hard to hear in this venue so the leader calling out the moves is also using hand signals for us to understand easier. So, here is the improved version!
Two weeks ago I woke up early in order to take advantage of some beautiful weather and a great hike through a trail just outside of the city. I went with my friend Ruy Lopes and his father Rui Lopes who is a professional photographer from Canada. I had a great time spending the morning with them and seeing a new part of Medellin. The only down side was a bunch of nasty bug bites but I survived and it was well worth it. Here is a look at some of the photos I snapped that morning.
Last May the newest and most popular salsa academy of Medellin, Colombia, Academia Baila Latino, celebrated their 1 Year Anniversary with a huge event located on the top floor of the Dann Carlton Hotel which is considered the best hotel in the city. With a view of city and the energy of dancing all around there was fun to be had. Here is a look at some of the photos we captured throughout the night including the surprise engagement at the end of the night!
I must give a great deal of the photo credit to my friend and photographer Joseph Le. He was kind enough to help me out with the photos so that I could dance a bit as well! Special thanks to Joel Duncan Photography as well for capturing some great photos of the night which can be found here. If you love travel and photography make sure to follow his blog AdventureJo as well!