Ensenada fish market catch

The day's catch at the Ensenada Fish Market

After 20 years of photographing the Fish Market of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (aka Mercado Negro,) Tomas Castelazo is still drawn back to it for what he describes as a “good photographic and social experience.”

Castelazo says that whenever he goes to photograph the Fish Market of Ensenada, he comes out with great images. The market  is a culmination of several things that fascinate him as a photographer, he said. “The graphic environment is great,” with many shapes, textures, rhythms, abstractions and colors to photograph. Coupled with the smells, noises, tastes and interactions with the vendors, Castelazo finds himself returning often to shoot.

One day, while visiting the market with a friend, he managed to capture the close-up above of some freshly-caught Atractoscion nobilis (or White Seabass) that were on display.

“I loved the balance when I came across this image. On one side, the heads and the eyes give the picture a good rhythm. On the other, you can see the different textures and colors of the tails. I thought that they were both elements of the same subject, but presented separate and different interpretations,” said Castelazo

Grapes and leaves in the fall

Brightly colored grapes and leaves in the fall

Castelazo considers himself as a “committed photographer,” who believes that “getting paid to take photographs does not necessarily mean better quality.” He operates in a middle ground between a hobbyist and a professional: “sometimes professional, sometimes hobbyist, but always committed,” he said.

From staring at cameras on the shelves of camera stores to working behind the lenses, Castelazo says his fixation with photography began when he bought his first camera at 13, a Kodak Instamatic. He worked with black and white for many years until he made the jump to digital and began experimenting with color, where he particularly enjoys exploring the different elements of his surrounding environment.

“When possible, I use photography as a language, to communicate or sensitize people with respect to environmental or social issues of our day and surroundings,” said Castelazo. “But photography is also about giving people a visual experience that will take them out of the present experience, a moment of relaxation.”

Having taught Sociology and Photography at the high school and college level, Castelazo says as a teacher he believes that Wikipedia is a “great social experiment with incredible potential to do good.”

“It feels good to be acknowledged and recognized. But most importantly, a featured picture gives the image an opportunity to be seen and utilized in additional projects. That is where the real value is,” said Castelazo.

(View more of Castelazo’s photos)

Jordan Hu, Communications Intern