Kurt Hollander

Kurt is originally from New York City, lived in Mexico City for over 25 years and since 2013 divides his time between Mexico City and Cali, Colombia.

A writer and photographer, he is currently working on a new book entitled The Joyous Life (Adventures in Cali’s Skin Trade). The book is both an autobiography and an analysis of porn, prostitution and photography in Cali, illustrated with several of his photographic series.

Kurt is the author of Formas de Morir en México (Trilce 2015), Several Ways to Die in Mexico City (Feral House 2012), and of the photobooks Sonora: The Magic Market (RM 2008) and El Super (RM 2006).

His writing has been published in the Guardian, Vice, Guernica, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Aeon, The Ecologist, Art in America, Atlantica, Weapons of Reason, Salon and elsewhere.

His photographs have been published in The Guardian, Vice, Refinery29, Die Nacht, LensCulture, Dangerous Minds, L’Oeil de la Photografie, Domus, Dezeen, Uncube, Bomb, Morbid Anatomy, Colors, the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post. His series entitled A City Abandoned was nominated in 2015 for the prestigious Prix Pictet, selected as one of the ten best photo-essays of 2015 by Domus (Italy) and was shown at the Focus Photography Festival in Mumbai in 2016.

Kurt has had several individual and group exhibitions of his photography work and installations in museums, galleries and alternative spaces in Colombia, Mexico and the USA.

Links to his work:



















Notebook on Cities and Culture S3E16: Autobiology with Kurt Hollander

His blog: http://dfdeath.blogspot.mx/

Instagram: @kurthollander

30 Comments on “Kurt Hollander

  1. Hi Kurt, I’ve been enjoying a lot of your writing and photography online and have just ordered “Several Ways to Die in Mexico City”. Really looking forward to reading it. Best wishes from Sydney.

  2. I just finished your book also. Really enjoyed it, and I hope your health has improved. !
    (Hi Peter, above, we seem to be finding the same places online! )

  3. Hi Kurt, I knew the water situation was bad in Mexico City, but I hadn’t realized it was that bad. I live in Arizona where the water is still very scarce also but I have been working for several years on a project that can bring vast quantities of ocean water to the interior using the ocean water itself to provide the powering of the pumps and purification process. This would be a great boon to Mexico City as well as all the Southwestern US [and worldwide]. I was only in Mexico City once, quite a few years ago when I was returning from Argentina. I had a cousin who was on the US diving team for the Olympics. I even have a grandfather that was born in Colonia Diaz, Chihuahua, Mexico.
    Back to the main reason for writing….Do you know anyone who would be interested is such a water system that could deliver unlimited amounts of purified water to Mexico City [and other places desperately needing it]. Please contact me at 480-832-7810 or soccit2me2000@yahoo.com. Thanks again for your enlightening article.
    Paul Ray Millet

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  5. Dear Kurt, I am really looking forward to your response to the info I sent you on July 11, 2014. We really need people who can ‘think outside the box’ and not be constrained by ‘that’s just the way things are.’
    Paul Ray Millet

  6. hi paul, thanks for your kind message. i really sorry but i don’t know anyone in the water business. kurt

  7. Dear Kurt, I really want to thank you for responding. This water situation is really serious all around the globe. Here
    in Arizona it is particularly bad. They have pumped so much groundwater that in some areas the land is beginning
    to subside. I was wondering if you might have any access to Carlos Slim who lives there in Mexico City. It seems that
    two of his grandchildren have died from the contaminated water there. It would seem that he would be interested in a
    system of bringing in purified water from either the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. There are places like in Northern
    Chile where there has never been any reported rain. I would like to introduce you to our CEO who for the time being
    must remain unnamed for security reasons. He has had his life threatened because this technology will change the world
    when it comes to energy production and pure water supplies. Let me know how we can possibly work together.
    Sincerely, Paul Ray Millet

  8. I love reading Several Ways to Die in Mexico City. Is it available in Spanish? Please advise.

  9. Hello Kurt this a really bad problem in Mexico I wish I could help seeing all that poorness I wish I was a millionaire so I could help economically the only way I can help is praying, though there has to be a way to change that. if there is anyway I can help let me know yeliloza1@yahoo.com pls

  10. WOW justo lo que estaba buscando buscando para. Vine aquí por la búsqueda de la palabra clave %%

  11. Dear Kurt, I wrote you before about the quality of drinking water in Mexico City.  There is a solution for thatas well as for producing unlimited energy without contributing to pollution.  I have a friend [actually adistant cousin] there in Mexico City named Stan Martineau.  Do you know him?  I really have a problemwith people who say ‘My mind is made up, don’t bother me with facts’.  This will soon be known world-wide.  Let me know if you would like more information.  Paul   From: kurt hollander To: soccit2me2000@yahoo.com Sent: Friday, January 23, 2015 12:07 AM Subject: [New comment] About #yiv3909710450 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3909710450 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3909710450 a.yiv3909710450primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3909710450 a.yiv3909710450primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3909710450 a.yiv3909710450primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3909710450 a.yiv3909710450primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3909710450 WordPress.com Myrtle commented: “WOW justo lo que estaba buscando buscando para. Vine aquí por la búsqueda de la palabra clave %%” | |

  12. Just finished “Several Ways to Die” Wow! Such clean, clear writing. (I’m from the “writing should be the glass on the store window” school of prose and your writing fits that bill.)

    I grew up in New York City too and am discovering Mexico Cit late in life (55). After several years of short visits, I’ve finally figured out the rudiments of getting around and a neighborhood I like (Condesa – it’s the trees!)

    I’ve had my own chronic, life course-altering health problems so to stumble on a book that covers a New Yorker’s experiences with and insights into Mexico intertwined with a narrative about health is kind of amazing. It’s helped me weigh the issue of moving to a place that’s almost certainly sure to shorten my life.

    My conclusion: Why not, if the trade off is a more interesting and enjoyable life? The people, the style of life and the nature (afflicted as it is are) provide the draw for me and New York is too far gone (though interesting things are happening in the Bronx.)

    Hey, if you feel like sharing your homeopath’s name and contact info, I’d appreciate it. I think this system captures my e-mail.

    Thanks for a marvelous book that’s been a real service to me as well as very informative and entertaining.

    – Ken

  13. You make a comment about the drug war worse than drugs. Can’t disagree with you.

    My buddy Doug Valentine who is an expert on this:

    A program I did with him (Three Parts):

  14. hey ken, good to hear from you and thanks for your kind comments. you can make an appointment with dr. richard bitner through his secretary here: yperez207@gmail.com. all the best, kurt

  15. Thanks Kurt. Did I see you run past me on Baja California by the Starbucks in the rain tonight ?

  16. good to read you in the RAIL, Kurt, about Coney Island; but don’t you patronize the beach? It’s very attractive. In a Brooklyn Magazine perhaps a dozen years ago I had an appreciation.

    I knew your rather around 1969 when he was working with John Cage.

    good wishes, Richard Kostelanetz

  17. hi richard. the coney beach is great, one of the great concentrations of humanity in the summer and one of the great empty landscapes in the winter, it hasn’t changed much at all in all this time (which is kind of why i didn’t mention). i believe we met years and years ago at a small press book fair. where did you meet my father? someone just made a short documentary about cage’s visit to cranbrook where my father invited him and i learned a little more about that period of my father’s life. hope you’re well. kurt

  18. Hi Kurt – I have just seen some pics from your columbian sex-hotel shoot. I think they’re truly amazing; with the surreal sexual combo’s. However I really need to ask you why it only features women subjects? – I feel disappointet because that does make it feel a bit stereotypical…

  19. Hi Kurt,

    do you know if Irwin ever received letters from John Cage? Did Laura Kuhn solicit you? In a review of the new book of Cage’s letters, I’m making of point about some of us never getting them from him.

    I still regard JC’s Marcel pieces as his strongest visual work.

    please reply directly to rmy email, thanks, RK

  20. hi richard, sorry but i really don’t know if my father ever received letters from john. you could get in touch with shelley selim (SSelim@cranbrook.edu), she researched cage’s visit to cranbrook academy which irwin organized. k

  21. Hi Kurt,
    I recently came across your work and found it both knowledgeable and interesting. I am in Mexico City for the first time (originally from Boston) and its been an eye opening experience. Ironically, I just completed my Master’s degree in Public Health Nursing. We did several projects back home around different problems we saw in populations. I have not seen anything like Mexico City. Im planning to buy your book and out of curiosity see what current studies exist with correlation between environment and health here in Mexico City. I wonder what is being done, if anything.

  22. hi jennifer. i just got your message. if you speak spanish i’m sure you can find lots of academic studies on public health in mexico city.

  23. Hi Kurt,
    My name is Ivan, I am an architect and writer based in NYC. My wife and I are planning to live in DF for six months starting in January 2017. I intend to do some research about Mexico City’s water infrastructure and its effect on how people interact with it and with each other. I came across your article in the Guardian on this same topic and I’d love it if you’d consider being a contact while I’m down there. Any advice or resources you could provide would help me make this project the best it can be. Contact me by email.
    Great work. Thanks for your consideration.

  24. Hey Kurt I read your article on Tampico. I recently found out my great grandfather emigrated from Palestine in 1920’s to Tampico. He had a family there and was looking to get more information. You spoke to a historian and I’m not sure if you can help but any directions you can point me in would be great. My family can’t remember their fathers half sisters name but she had articles written about her and seemed to be an important figure in Tampico. She located my grandfather in the 70’s but nothing is known after that. If you can help great! Let me know via email. Thanks

  25. I’m reading your book about Mexico City, and how funny. I’m a guy that doesn’t get to NYC much. But I stumbled upon your book and it’s introduction (about where you lived) as I’m heading to a club at 50 Avenue B, just two cross streets away from the location cited in your book! What a weird, small world.

  26. Hello Kurt, I am writing an article about the Mining in the area of Real de Catorce. I came across to your article in the ecologist. However, I was not able to reproduce the information you mention about:
    (Eleven states in Mexico have sold off more than 20% of the land to mining companies (five of these states over 30% and one over 40%). Canadian companies control 70% of the exploration, development and production of precious metals in Mexico.)
    You mention 11 states but don’t say what states. I only was able to find two states in Mexico with 20 % of concessions, not sold land. Any chance you can point me to the source where you find that information?
    I will really appreciated.

  27. Hi Kurt, I just wrote a quick note to you but it seems to have been dumped from the system. Hopefully, this arrives. My daughter and I are planning a trip to Mexico City for mid-December through the New Year. She’ll stay on longer and work remotely from there. I’m nervous about going back to Mexico City because, like you, I got very sick when I was younger (I was 11 in 1974) while visiting the city. In the years after, I had ongoing problems and was finally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 17. Fast forward to today and the idea of eating at street stalls or even eating fresh food in Mexico City worries me. I am in remission most of the time but the idea of my colitis being reintroduced to whatever triggered it in the first place kind of leaves me in cold sweats. And so, I hoped you might have some tips about the quirks and availability of public toilets in Mexico City. I remember when I lived in the Toronto area, I knew every exit off Highway 401 and how to get to a bathroom because I HAD to know. : ) Figured you might have similar insights to offer. Italy made it compulsory for restaurants and cafes to allow tourists to use the facilities whether or not they had purchased anything. Very helpful. I’m guessing Mexico City hasn’t got a similar policy. Hope you are in remission, well and happy. Cheers, Marie

  28. With a lot of respect to the website owner of kurthollander.com

    Hi there, my name is Yair
    I have just lost my job because of the corona, so I am contacting now as many website owners as I can to find someone to hire me.
    I worked on one of biggest ISP providers in my country for years as a group manager.

    You can hire me online for anything you want me to do and I will do my best, and study the subject.
    You can pay me how you decide
    Please send me a job applications and your requirments of me and how and when you are going to pay.

    My email is: yairmartay@gmail.com

    Looking forward to work for you.



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