ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
The tower of David is a skyscraper located in downtown Caracas, Venezuela. The structure is 195 meters high, consists of two towers, and contains 45 floors. Construction began in 1990, but after a devastating economic crisis hit Venezuela in 1994, construction was abandoned. The building was 60% complete. 13 years later, in 2007, construction began again. This time however, it was not for its original purpose. Instead of office spaces, approximately 2,000 families invaded the space illegally.
According to the latest census taken by the inhabitants, there are around 1,300 people currently living there. The Tower of David has become an emblematic symbol of the city of Caracas. It represents the hopes of Caracas to remain a major economic center, and the failure to do so.
In this same way, the Tower of David has come to represent Venezuela as a whole. The Tower has a reputation for harboring the most dangerous of criminals; ironically, the inhabitants are drawn to the Tower due to its security. For them, the Tower is their part in the Bolivarian Revolution. Their way of life is a fight against the social parameters in which they are viewed as a dysfunctional community.
The Tower remains a closed society, as they are afraid of being discriminated against, because of their living arrangements. While the take over of the Tower, and their way of life remain controversial, the reality is that the inhabitants are simply people who are searching for a sense of belonging, and a place to call home.
This work was recently selected as the winner of the Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award 2014
Alejandro Cegarra was born in 1989, in Caracas, Venezuela, which is the city he still calls home. He began studying photography 4 years ago in the “Roberto Mata Taller de Fortografia” or “Roberto Mata Photography Workshop,” while at the same time studying Publicity at Alejandro de Humboldt University.
After working for a year at an advertising agency called “Creative Army” and only viewing photography as a hobby, he decided to pursue photography more fully. In 2012 he started filling in for other photographers at the largest newspaper in Venezuela, “Ultimas Noticias” or “Latest News.” Simultaneously he worked for two other newspapers, “Ciudad Caracas” and “2001,” returning as a full time employee of “Ultimas Noticias” in 2013. Since November of 2013, Alejandro has been working as a stringer for Associated Press.