Marco Bochicchio’s images capture the Mexico I experience but have never been able to translate into a photograph: the exaggeration of color; the feeling that you are operating in a constant dream state, somehow outside of real time; the patina of nostalgia.
Then again, Marco puts his photographs through several rounds of editing with a number of apps in order to achieve that at once washed out and vibrant, daydreamy, almost quixotic look. So, maybe you can’t actually capture that side of Mexico in one take; you need to paint it on.
Marco’s images have garnered a lot of attention on Instagram - his account @mente_de_rufus has over 65k followers (the handle translates to “mind of Rufus”, referring to Marco’s dog, who you can see in the last photograph in this post).
I first came across Marco’s Instagram account when Vogue published its Mexico City Travel Guide. We met for coffee in the La Condesa neighborhood back in November, and he told me wild stories about his travels, which he documents on Instagram alongside photos of his hometown Mexico City.
Marco graciously agreed to let me interview him for OHB, so I asked him about his favorite places to travel, growing up in Mexico City and how he creates his stunning Instagram images.
What was it like growing up in Mexico City? I imagine it’s a little bit like growing up in New York City, because the two cities have a similar wild energy.
Mexico City is marvelous - full of history, magic and an impressive surrealism. It’s a city that is a truly varied, and, as such, easily relatable. Growing up in a place where there are all kinds of tastes, social groups and people shows you that nothing in life can be generalized. If there’s a common language that allows us to coexist with so many people at the same time, that language is warmth.
In Mexico City people are, generally, very friendly, and that makes it difficult to be alone. Sometimes it’s easy to miss being alone; here the landscape is made up of more city within the city.
What’s your favorite place in Mexico City?
The Historic Center transports me to the time of the colonization of Mexico. I’ve always liked imagining what Harnán Cortés saw when he arrived to Texcoco lake; an island in the middle of two gigantic pyramids and lots of people that had been coexisting for a long time.
Walking through the streets of the Center you’ll see the large houses which belonged to the very wealthy; nowadays the sidewalks are filled with women dressed in traditional garments carrying their children or grandchildren, the man selling camotes, the man selling tamales, the City Cathedral (made with the same stones used for the pyramids, which used to stand in the very same place), the music and, of course, the shouts of the people.
When you want to escape Mexico city, where in Mexico do you like to go?
Outside of Mexico City you’ll find pre-hispanic Mexico more intact. There are still places that haven't had contact with technology and the new world. What I love most about those places is the people, the landscapes, the colors, the food. I like the things that make each place unique: the wind of the Nayarit desert, the waves of the coast of Michoacán, the smell of copal inside the church of San Juan de Chamula, the cold of Tlaxcala, the heat of Baja California, the colors of Quintana Roo and the smiles of Puebla.
If I had to choose one place as my favorite I’d say it’s the coast of Michoacán. It has the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in my life, and its ocean is unique.
A long time ago I went to a beach called la llorona in the north of Michoacán. We arrived Thursday to stay for the weekend. No one else had arrived yet, and the sea was extremely calm. We swam, and it seemed strange to us that there were no waves. The ocean behaved more like a giant lake.
Friday, as people began to arrive, the ocean changed and took on a totally different personality. There were six-foot tall waves, and no one could swim. On Saturday two people had to be rescued with jet skis because the currents were so strong. You could only dip your feet in.
Then, on Sunday at around 5pm, when everyone had gone, the sea became like a lake again.
How did you create the distinctive style you use for your images on Instagram?
It was a very interesting process through which I began to understand the importance of color in photography - the way colors combine with one another and the effects they create.
What is your editing process like before you publish an image on Instagram?
I start by selecting a photo that has an interesting detail, and I do several rounds of editing. Sometimes the photo loses its initial essence and the mood changes completely; that’s when things get really fun.
You're also an architect. Where do you find inspiration for your art (both photography and architectural design)?
Nature has always been a source of inspiration for the majority of artists. Nature has all the secrets of beauty and the complex factors that create something simple, like a sunset.
What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts?
I love accounts that show nature; for example, @sharksdaily posts beautiful photos of the sea. I follow people who travel and take interesting photos of their journeys, like @travellingduff, @popipopi and @maldemar.
Of all the photos you’ve published on Instagram, do you have a favorite?
Yes, my favorite is one I took of Rufus, my dog.