David Mercado

David Mercado

Based
La Paz, Bolivia
Born
Cochabamba, Bolivia
Camera
Canon EOS 5D mark III
“Good stories are to be found not just on major assignments.”

Beat

Politics, daily life, environment, sports

One Shot

. La Paz, Bolivia. Reuters/David Mercado
A physically disabled woman in her wheelchair clashes with riot police in the centre of La Paz. Hundreds of physically disabled people arrived in La Paz after completing a protest march of some 1,600 km over a hundred days to demand that Bolivia's government offer financial support to each physically disabled Bolivian, according to local media.
“Two blocks from the government headquarters I saw one of the most severe clashes between protesters and riot police. In the end the protesters got little or nothing from the government but they still felt as if they had achieved something - not least the encouragement and sympathy of La Paz residents.”

Profile

My first memory of photography is Freddy Alborta’s 1967 legendary photo of the body of Che Guevara in a coffin surrounded by soldiers.

I was always fascinated by cameras and the chemical process involved in developing photos. I am partly self-taught but I also learnt the craft from local photographers and those from abroad who came to work in my country.

I grew up in an unstable country, with my generation of Bolivians spending the first 20 years or so of our lives amid military coups and dictatorships.

After spending a few years in Europe with musician friends, I came home determined to become a photographer and document events around me - the history of my people.

My first assignment was to document Felix Cardenas, one of the first indigenous candidates to run for the post of President of Bolivia. He conducted his campaign on his own and on foot.

I met Cardenas in the early morning while he was performing rituals giving thanks to the goddess Pachamama and to the sun. The light and the setting were magnificent. He had very little public support as a candidate but the photos and the story were worth the effort. Now, 20 years later, Cardenas is part of the government of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.

I like stories about the environment, especially how people cope with climate change and natural disasters. I am also interested in education, culture and tradition.

My biggest lesson has been to be honest, and to act with integrity, both personally and as a photojournalist.