written by:
Giulia Magnaguagno



When I was a teenager, I used to dream to travel and discover ancient rests of cities, all covered by thick tropical forests, that make you access hidden worlds and reveal secrets of legendary people. This dreams made me grow up with the will to follow my imagination and travel to Mexico! At that time, I used to read an old book by Von Hagen, which was called “THE MAYA – Adventurous travels of Stephens and Catherwood.” It was all about two archaeologists who followed their faith and devoted their lives to bring back the culture of the legendary Maya people.

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When you shoot, it’s always good to keep in mind the idea we want to convey through our picture, and starting from this idea you can better understand how to best use your kit to make it come to life. In my case, I was exploring the fantastic Maya buildings, all immersed in the nature which frames them. I was carrying my camera with a 24mm lens attached, which proved to be totally versatile and useful in these diverse situations. The idea I got was to exploit this nature as the frame of this work of art, composed by the Maya houses and buildings. The 24mm allowed me to have a broader view, without losing depth of field, and without distorting the images.

It took me a decade for me to get to Mexico for the first time, with two other crazy travel companions. With me, there was an inspired and curious woman, which visited the whole Latin America with me, and who crafted all these images. What happened during the Mexican days, we keep it in our hearts, and live it as a dream that we want to share with you in this travel diary.

Our travel to Yucatan/Maya starts from the south, from the Pueblo Magico Di Bacalar, where we arrived after two-days exploration of the archaeological site of Palenque, Chiapas. It’s a broad and well preserved site, located on the western side of the Maya territory. Here was the kingdom of the Pacal King, who was buried in the Temple: the great building that you’ll notice as you come into the archaeological site.


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Talking about Bacalar, this was a fabulous worls which looks surreal, and opens un on the shimmering colours of the unforgettable lagoon: la laguna de los siete colores. When talking about the lagoon, most Europeans tend to think of a dark, humid landscape, but this idea gas nothing to di with Balalar! The water is blue, and crystal clear, and it blends with the blue sky.

It’s a magical place and it evokes mysteries and legends, which are linked to the Inframundo, the secret world of the Maya. Maya believed that thorough the cenotes (some holes on the ground which are full of water) they could access another world.

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But to better understand the cenotes legend, we need to go to Tulum, which is 200km away from here, heading north, on the Quintana Roo coast.
When the Conquistadores reached these seas in search of fortune, they saw a castle on the coasts, but couldn’t reach it because of the coral bay, which prevented all boats from reaching the coast. That was the Castillo, the last construction of the Maya civilization, which was already starting its end. Today the Tulum site is one of the most visited places in the entire Mexico area, thanks to its scenographic position, on the blue Caribbean sea. The whole archaeological site is truly interesting, especially if you look at the Castillo from below, immersed in the ocean.


Here we are in one of the many cenotes near Tulum: a true gift by Mother Nature, and it opens the doors to the center of the earth. They are long, deep water corridors and caves which dig the underground. You can reach them through natural holes like the one in the picture. In this picture, I wanted to portray these elements: the depth of field, the darkness of the location, the contrast between light and dark, and respect the natural shapes of the rocks.

When I shoot, I always focus on a particular detail inside the image, which will then become the protagonist. In this case, it was the crystal clear water, and the idea of the underground. I’m still using my loyal 24mm, and I can find the compromise between the shutter and the aperture not to miss too much depth of field, and still manage to get enough light, so my camera settings are the following: f: 5,6 with 1/60 and ISO: 640. Once I fixed the technical settings, I look for the right angle.

After this, we move towards Valladolid, one of the most beautiful Pueblos in Yucatan. An important hub for the Maya culture and craftsmanship. The coloured houses, the great square of the cathedral, the St. Bernard church, and the numerous boutiques are a touristic attraction.

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You come here to have lunch after a long trip, and to visit the Chichen Itza, a famous Maya site. When you enter it, you find yourself in front of the pyramid, and you can’t help thinking of the history of this amazing citizenship.

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When you find yourself next to huge buildings like this one, what one would like to do is to shoot them without people in the frame. I believe this is a wrong idea, because the human presence is fundamental to truly understand the majesty of the pyramid. People work as a term of comparison for the height and width of the building, and without them, you wouldn’t be able to understand how big it is!


Giulia Magnaguagno

Giulia Magnaguagno, stage name GiuliaMagg, is a young artist and photographer with a strong visual  and cinematographic expressivity.

She currently lives and works in Rome, but travels a lot through her work.


In 2006 she took a BFA degree in Translation and Interpreting Studies in English and Spanish at the IULM University in Milan. She gets into photography in 2007, while studying at the EFTI Academy in Madrid, graduating in Professional Photography. Later on she specialises in Direction of Photography at the ACT Multimedia in Rome.


Her multifaceted formation brings her to work in several fields:
Filmmaking, Commercial Photography and Artistic Photography.


GiuliaMagg is represented by the art gallery Spazio Anna Breda in Padova, and takes part in several exhibitions such as:

  • Fuoribiennale, Venice 2013
  • Photissima Art Fair, Venice 2013
  • Affordable Art Fair at Macro Testaccio, Rome 2012
  • Biennale, Brescia 2011
  • Fuoribiennale, Venice 2009


During the summer of 2013 She wins a 2 months artistic residency in Tijuana (Mexico), which will greatly enrich her artistic process, opening doors and providing chances for international exhibitions. Her latest work, “Be Right Back”, will soon be presented in Mexico and the U.S.

At this moment she is completely involved in the social and eco-sustainable project “VITAMINA Project”that will bring her all along Latin America in a long 8 months trip and 26.ooo km.


GiuliaMagg shows a well defined style, which emanates sensibly from her images, based on a keen sense of composition and an always refined aesthetic that is conscious of her cinematographic heritage.

Fantasy, Thechique and Passion are the three pivotal points in GiuliaMagg’s work.

Giulia Magnaguagno, in arte GiuliaMagg, èuna giovane artista fotografa dalla forte espressivitàvisiva e cinematografica.

Attualmente vive e lavora a Roma anche se il suo lavoro la porta spesso a viaggiare.


Si laurea nel 2006 in Traduttori e Interpreti di inglese e spagnolo presso l’universitàIULM di  Milano. Si avvicina alla fotografia studiando presso l’Accademia EFTI di Madrid dove consegue il diploma in Fotografia Professionale nell’anno 2007, successivamente, si trasferisce a Roma dove si diploma in Direzione della Fotografia Cinematografica presso l’Accademia ACT Multimedia.


La sua molteplice formazione, la porta a lavorare in diversi campi d’interesse:

il cinema, la fotografia artistica e la fotografia commerciale.


GiuliaMagg èrappresentata dalla Galleria Spazio Anna Breda di Padova e partecipa come artista fotografa a diverse mostre come:

  • Fuoribiennale di Venezia 2013
  • Photissima Art Fair 2013 a Venezia
  • Affordable Art Fair al Macro Testaccio di Roma nel 2012
  • Biennale di Brescia nel 2011
  • Fuoribiennale di Venezia nel 2009


Nell’estate 2013 vince una residenza artistica di 2 mesi a Tijuana (Messico), che la arricchiràmoltissimo nel suo processo artistico aprendole porte e possibilitàespositive anche a livello internazionale. Il suo ultimo lavoro “Be Right Back” verràprossimamente presentato in Messico e negli Stati Uniti.


Attualmente èimpegnata nel progetto “Vitamina Project”all’insegna del sociale e dell’eco-sostenibilità, che la porteràalla scoperta dell’America Latina in un viaggio lungo 8 mesi e 26.000 KM, le serviràper raccogliere materiale e per documentare il suo passaggio attraverso il suo lavoro video-fotografico.


GiuliaMagg mostra uno stile ben definito, che affiora sensibilmente dalle sue immagini, basato su uno spiccato senso compositivo e un’estetica sempre ricercata che risente in modo consapevole di un retaggio cinematografico.

Fantasia, tecnica e passione sono i tre punti cardine del lavoro di GiuliaMagg.

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