For the last five months I have been taking an introductory photojournalism seminar with Don Rypka of Sudaca Photos. Our task in the class was to find a story and produce a photo essay on said subject. I chose to follow Nick Mahshie, a painter and visual artist from Miami who lives here in Buenos Aires and works under the artistic name of Tranqui Yanqui.
For our last meeting, all the students of all his seminars got together at a theatre in La Boca and watched slideshow projections of each student’s work, accompanied with music. Here’s my slideshow. The music is “Pikatxu” by El Remolón, an electronic cumbia artist featred on ZZK Records.
Granted, watching an embedding video while hunched over a computer is not the same thing as watching it in a darkened theatre. I personally hate slideshows on the web for this reason. So in case, like me, you lack the patience to watch the video, here’s a link to the same photos on my website, no flash and all on a single page. And if that’s not enough, my story was selected to be featured on Sudaca’s website.
Don Rypka is a legend in the photographic community here in Argentina. He’s an American who’s lived here since 1987 and was for many years director of photography at La Nación. Prior to that he worked as a war photographer covering conflicts in Central America. I’m pretty certain photojournalism is not the direction I want to take in my photographic career, yet I felt that it’s an important discipline and worth learning. Studying with someone so knowledgeable and experienced, week after week, ripping my photos to shreds, is an incredible and wonderful experience.
Just a quick anectdote, one week, in response to a photo that didn’t quite come out right, I complained that Nick, my subject, moved very fast when he was working. Don paused and asked quietly, “…and bullets?” I suddenly had this image of Don as Chuck Norris, catching bullets with his teeth between clicks of the shutter. As they say here in Argentina, me mató.
Finally, Nick Mahshie’s work as Tranqui Yanqui is clever and extremely creative. He paints with loud, tropical colors, incorporating popular elements from both American and Argentine culture. I can’t thank him enough for letting me tag along and be his paparazzo these last few months. Please do go check out his blog and if you’re in Buenos Aires, try to catch one of his performances.