Santa Ana Park is one of the oldest parks of the metropolis located on the Old Shell of the city. It is also known as “Casco Viejo”. During its prime time, every important social event orbited around this water hole. Many young Panamanians are unaware that this is where the Panama National Lottery held its weekly drawings.
It was also a favorite place for social activists and university revolutionaries to hold their political gatherings and to address their inflammatory speeches. In the world of politics and social protest movements this was the place to be.
Now it is only a place to read the daily papers, shine your shoes or just relax and talk about whatever is going on in the city.
Santa Ana Park still looks pretty much the was it was during the sixties when I was a resident of the area. Nothing has changed. It is an area frozen in time. To me this place is full of memories of my teen years.
For the next several days I will post several pictures of the edifices and structures of the neighborhood of Santa Ana, specifically those flanking Calle Peatonal (Pedestrian Street).
These structures have been standing since the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. I’m afraid that anything can happen to them, and we will lose a valuable chunk of history. Fires, commercial malls, earth quakes, new parking lots, etc. will destroy these legendary pieces of Panama history. By photographing them, my intention is to give them a permanent life for the future generations to learn the appearance of the Old Shell of Panama City. In a way, I want to do with my camera what historians did with their researchs and books. Academics call this discipline, “Documentary Photography”.
“The quality of autenticity implicit in a photograph may give it special value as evidence of proof. Such a photograph can be called “documentary” by dictionary definition “an original and official paper related upon a basis, proof or support of anything else;—in its most extended case, including any writing, book, or other instrument conveying information.”
Thus any photograph can be considered a document if it is found to contain useful information about the specific subject under study.
Henri Maatisse stated in “Camera Work” in 1908: “Photography can provide the most precious documents existing, and no one can contest its value from that point of view. If it is practiced by a man of taste, the photographs will have the appearance of art…Photography, should register and give us documents.”—Beaumont Newhall, History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present.