Inside the world of Colombia’s ‘Generation Z’

Photographer Charlie Cordero had always been interested in what he calls the world of the image. Even while studying social communication at a university, he wanted to be a storyteller. In 2013, Cordero realized he wanted to tell stories with a camera. He ended up working at El Heraldo, the paper for the city of Barranquilla, Colombia, as a photographer and documentary photographer.

Delving into the world of photography, Cordero was motivated by its social nature and “the possibility of being able to give voice to those who do not have it, and more in a country like Colombia, one of the most unequal countries in the world,” he said.

“I felt the need to go to places where nobody dared to go and tell what happened there,” he said. “And not only the bad but also the good, the dreams and the hopes of the population. . . . I was also attracted to the possibility of learning about things I do not know — personally, the best way to know about something I do not know is to photograph it.”

Cordero also teaches photography at a university. Most of his students are between 16 and 20, a generation sometimes referred to as “Generation Z.” From an early age, they have been immersed in technology and the Internet. As a teacher, Cordero noticed that his students approached the world differently than even he did, at 28.

“This project was born under the need to be able to understand them, to approach their ways of seeing the world, to understand how they relate to each other and society. . . . I perceived profound differences in the way they faced issues such as sexuality and privacy, so I decided to photograph them and learn about them,” he said.

Cordero told In Sight that this generation is the key to the future of Colombia: They are the first generation that will live in a Colombia at peace and be responsible for maintaining that peace and for issues such as the economy and environment.

In the end, Cordero said, the goal of his project is “to give testimony to the way in which future generations relate to the societies in which they live. I was also interested in showing those new features that differentiate us or make us equal — conceptions about privacy or sexuality —  and to explain how they relate to each other in a virtual and personal way.”

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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