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Politics

Capitolio

The images that form Christopher Anderson’s book 'Capitolio' play out as a cinematic journey through the upheavals of contemporary Caracas

Christopher Anderson

Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Reflection in window in Altamira. Caracas, Venezuela. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio After winning a referendum on his presidency, President Chavez appears from the Presidential Palace before supporters. Caracas, Venezuela. August, 2004. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Street dancers in La Vega, a poor slum of Caracas. Caracas, Venezuela. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio A man in a devil costume runs around the streets of La Vega before a rally for Chavez. The act is to make fun of the idea of the "red devil of socialism". Caracas, Venezuela. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio President Hugo Chavez and entourage. Caracas, Venezuela. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Capitolio Following a referendum vote on Chavez's presidency, people take cover as supporters of Chavez fire into a crowd of opposition protesters; one person was killed and several were wounded. Caracas, Ve (...)
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Gun battle between Metropolitan Police and gangs from gang-controlled neighborhood of Catia, one of Caracas' sprawling slums. The police patrols, either on foot or motorcycles, searches regularly f (...)
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio A young man is searched for weapons during a police raid in the slum of Catia. Catia, Caracas, Venezuela. 2004. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Capitolio Blood on the streets of Caracas after Chavez's supporters shot into a crowd of an opposition rally, killing one and wounding several. Caracas, Venezuela. 2004. © | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Street scene on the mean streets of Caracas at night. Caracas, Venezuela. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Caracas, Venezuela. 2005. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio A man drives through Catia, one of Caracas' most violent slums practically ruled by violent gangs. Caracas, Venezuela. 2005. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Squatters on a British owned farm. The Venezuelan government has launched a land reform policy to reclaim illegally owned land and give it back to the poor. Venezuela. 2005. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Venezuela. 2007. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio The mean streets of Caracas at night. Caracas is plagued by violent crime, and many Venezuelans live in fear at night. Caracas, Venezuela. 2006 © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson | Capitolio Boys playing in a slum overlooking Caracas. Caracas, Venezuela. 2007. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos

Christopher Anderson’s study of Caracas, Venezuela depicts a poetic and politicized vision of a city ripping apart with popular unrest. In the tradition of such earlier projects as William Klein’s New York (1954-55) and Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958), documentary photographer Christopher Anderson’s exploration of Caracas, Venezuela, brings to light the plight of a city and a country whose turmoil remains largely unreported by Western media.No stranger to such fraught situations (he covered the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel from its inception), Anderson notates the country’s incongruities, where the violent and the sensual intermingle chaotically.

“The word ‘Capitolio’ refers to the domed building that houses a government,” writes Anderson, elaborating on the title of this volume.  He continues, “Here, the city of Caracas, Venezuela, is itself a metaphorical Capitolio building. The decaying Modernist architecture, with a jungle growing through the cracks, becomes the walls of this building and the violent streets become the corridors where the human drama plays itself out in what President Hugo Chavez called a ‘revolution’.”