Samper Pizano, Daniel. "Carlos Caicedo: fotógrafo de prensa." In Carlos Caicedo: reportero gráfico. Bogotá, Colombia: Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, 1976.
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This essay appeared in the catalogue of Carlos Caicedo, Reportero Gráfico, the exhibition presented at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá in 1976. In his essay, the writer and journalist Daniel Samper Pizano discusses the work of the photojournalist Carlos Caicedo, and marvels at the twists and turns of fate that led a man from the country to work as a photographer. Later, Caicedo exchanged the studio for the street and produced images that transcended traditional photojournalism. Samper Pizano mentions some of Caicedo’s qualities, such as tact and shrewdness, which he amply displayed in his professional life. Samper Pizano also notes how Caicedo could capture everyday news events in photographs that endure owing to his particular perspective. This prompted the former to claim in his essay that Caicedo “is not just a simple photographer; he is a journalistic bird of prey.”
The photojournalist Carlos Caicedo (b. 1929) is one of the main Colombian heirs to the “Decisive Moment,” the concept that was proposed by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) in the early twentieth century, and included in his book Fotografiar al natural. In Cartier-Bresson’s opinion, the “decisive moment” involves synchronizing the mind, the eye, and the heart in order to capture an everyday scene on film. That is exactly what Caicedo did for forty years, ever since he started working at the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo in 1950 and went on to produce photographs that were iconic expressions of Colombian photojournalism.
Caicedo’s images are built on intuition. He learned his craft meticulously, initially at Foto Schimmer, a long-established photography studio in Bogotá, and then working as a lab technician with the photojournalist Sady González (1913–79). Caicedo developed his own style, avoiding the obvious and breathing eloquence or pathos into any given situation—according to the critic Luis Fernando Valencia (b. 1946). Caicedo’s approach is a far cry from the academic method, but he is scrupulous about the framing, the angle, the depth of field, and the horizontal line. His photographs are an integral part of the visual record of life in Colombia and have influenced artists such as Beatriz González (b. 1938), and press photographers such as Jesús Abad Colorado (b. 1967).
This article is interesting because of the information it provides about the life and work of a photojournalist who created his own particular style; the text acknowledges the photographer and the art of photography as a form of visual expression. It complements the overview of other Colombian photographers, including: Luis B. Ramos (1899–1955) [see doc. no. 1100852]; Melitón Rodríguez (1871–1942); Sady González [doc. no. 1132016]; and Jesús Abad Colorado [doc. no. 1134614]. These are some of the most outstanding exponents of documentary photography in Colombia during the twentieth century.
Daniel Samper Pizano (b. 1945) is a columnist who writes for publications such as Semana magazine and El Tiempo newspaper; he is also the author of novels, stories, and TV scripts. His work has been honored with awards such as the King of Spain Prize (1988) and the Simón Bolívar Prize for journalism (2005). He currently (in 2010) lives in Spain and is a corresponding member of the Colombian Academy of Language.