The goal of most documentary photographs is to tell a story in the most straightforward way, but what happens when it’s given a fine art treatment? Today’s perfect example comes in the form of photographer and illustrator Felipe Bedoya’s photos of beach vendors in the port town of Cartagena in Colombia.
Aptly titled Walkers, the set documents the daily stroll of street vendors along the beach of Cartagena. They peddle their wares to beach-goers who may want some food, drinks, and inflatable toys, creating pretty interesting scenes not only for documentary photography, but also travel photography to some degree. Based on the description provided for this set, the project is also part of a series whose objective was to study Colombians currently involved in informal commerce. These beach “walkers” are part of the 51% of the population working as informal traders, making Felipe’s work an artistic view into a national issue.
Also, from what I understand in the statement, Walkers also risks being a “misappropriation” of one of the country’s top tourist destinations. The peddlers, therefore, star in postcard-worthy scenes whose intention may not be clear (other than supporting images for the previously mentioned research work). However, I think they effectively and beautifully illustrate a slice of life along the city’s beautiful shores.
The peddlers and their wares create a nicely colorful contrast against the paleness of the sand, effectively drawing the eyes and interest of the viewer. I especially love the two other treatments within this set. The “Sequence” photos show transition and movement, while “Toys” is a unique display that combines the photos with sand through the frame to create a 3D effect.
I’m sure you enjoyed Walkers, so definitely give Felipe Bedoya’s Behance portfolio to see his photography and equally beautiful artworks.