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Colombia's Nereo Shows his Photos in Spain

MADRID.-(EFE) Despite being one of the most important photographers in his country, Colombian Nereo Lopez, at age 90, still feels like "an amateur," he told Efe at the inauguration Thursday in Madrid of his first photo exhibition in Spain.

Known simply as Nereo, the photographer, a personal friend of author Gabriel Garcia Marquez and a member of the so-called Barranquilla Group, presented "Colombia by Nereo," an exposition consisting of 30 black and white photos in which he tells stories from different parts of the country.

"These photos, which go from the (19)50s to the '70s, are done with the vitality of youth. After that, I went into teaching and now I've become an amateur again," he said.

Among the photos exhibited at the Sala Expometro are two of Garcia Marquez: a portrait from 1966, one year before the publication of "100 Years of Solitude," and an image of his celebration in Stockholm with the members of the Colombian delegation upon his receipt of the 1982 Nobel Literature Prize.

Nereo questioned the Barranquilla Group label, a group of prominent writers, painters and intellectuals who met in the old "La Cueva" nightspot in that Colombian city and which had Garcia Marquez as its most outstanding member.

"It never existed. The reporters made it up. It was just a group of friends who got together in a bar, where there were fishermen and then intellectuals appeared, the first of them (being painter) Alejandro Obregon, whom more friends joined," he said.

"I was not a chronicler. I was just one of those who was there and, being a photographer, I took photos that, with time, had their importance. I never would have imagined that now they'd be here," he said.

Nereo moved to New York nine years ago because, he said, "it's a dynamic city," and he shifted from working with black and white film to experiment with color and digital technology to create what he calls "transfografias."

"(The new technologies) don't detract from photography, but rather stimulate the photographer. Before, you had to concern yourself with things that the computer does now and so we can devote ourselves to creating," he said.

Nereo worked at a photojournalist for important publications in the Americas and Europe. He is also the author of numerous books, has exhibited his work all over the world and has received awards from the Colombian government. EFE/Concepcion M. Moreno

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