La Tentación Studio in Tijuana’s Pasaje Gomez

Josue Castro is reclaiming abandoned spaces and educating a new generation of photographers

La Tentación Studio in Tijuana’s Pasaje GomezImages and video by Lilia Hernández
Images and video by Lilia Hernández

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On a recent Saturday in Downtown Tijuana, El Centro in Spanish, Josue Castro’s La Tentación TJ-SD hosted a double photographic exhibition. Students from his “How To Take Horrible Pictures” workshop presented their portraits and were treated to some encouraging words by the Executive Director of San Diego’s Museum Of Photographic Arts Deborah Klochko. Also on the bill was an exhibition by two of the most influential mobile photography groups. We Are Juxt was originally established in Seattle and describe themselves as a “mobile arts community hoping to continue the already fruitful dialogue and relationship building that has emerged and grown through photo and video social networks such as Instagram, EyeEm, Backspaces, and Flickr”. The second group is AMPT Community whose goal is to “become the premier resource for mobile photography/artistry... period”. As an added attraction Josue and his business partner Andrew Sheiner were sharing some of their Los Marranos craft beers which are presently being made in San Diego but eventually will be produced in Pasaje Gomez next to their studio.

A little bit of background is in order here about Pasaje Gomez and Josue. Pasaje Gomez is an alley that cuts through the block bounded by Revolución and Madero between 3rd and 4th streets. Tijuana’s downtown blocks are about three times as large as San Diego’s which allows for interesting spaces. Many of Tijuana’s “pasajes” where originally filled with “curio” shops and other businesses catering to American tourists but were largely abandoned until the last couple of years. Luckily for Tijuana’s art scene they have been taken over in large part by artists and shops selling local goods to a hip urban crowd. Josue has a studio in San Diego but decided to open in Tijuana to take advantage of the beautiful space in the “pasaje” and to be able to experience a confluence of two countries and cultures.

VIDEO : Interview with the students :

I first talked to Josue’s students from his workshop and asked them why they chose to take the workshop here as opposed to other photographers. One of the students, Uriel, mentioned that he was challenged by Josue’s “clear and sharp idea of what he wants to accomplish”. Another student, Karina, mentioned how some of the students originally came in with pictures of a “niece, cat and dog” and how the workshop was about “breaking preconceptions and rules” and “learning how to see”. It really seemed like the group enjoyed their time at the workshop and bonded over a shared love for photography.

VIDEO : The interview

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