Archive for April, 2010

Ryan McGinley Meets Robert Frank

April 30, 2010

Esquire recently assigned [McGinley] to shoot Robert Frank, known as a photographer who waits for the moment. Mr. McGinley, who shoots as much as he can in the belief that “editing is just as good as shooting,” said he was aware that Mr. Frank was irritated by him. “I just started shooting, and I could tell the sound of the shutter going off was driving him nuts, like the sound of a machine gun.”

From a 2007 New York times article on Ryan McGinley. Imagining this encounter I can’t help but think of the Nixon/Elvis photo or David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing a duet.

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Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

April 12, 2010

Gian Paolo Minelli is a Swiss photographer who has been based in Buenos Aires for the last ten years. Currently on view at the Centro Cultural Recoleta is a substantial show of his work from Villa Lugano and Barrio Piedra Buena, both located in the southwest corner of the city. The show runs until May 2, 2010.

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Minelli photographs with a 4×5 camera and the photos are highly detailed, 40×50″ C-prints with a ton of detail.

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Here’s an example of a detail I hadn’t noticed when looking at smaller reproductions. The photo above depicts Lugano I y II, a massive housing project in Villa Lugano. Between the central tower and the more distant towers on the left are these small, silver structures:

Parking Structures in Lugano I y II, photo by Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Looking at the large print I could see that they were informally built parking structures in the common parking area of the complex.

Accompanying the exhibit is a catalog featuring many more photos of a project specifically focused on the neighborhood of Villa Lugano. The book was funded in part by the city of Lugano in Switzerland, which strikes me as a clever way to sell a project.

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano has a little bit of everything urbanistically; mundane middle class areas, massive Soviet-style apartment towers, shantytowns, mega-supermarkets, a golf course and even an abandoned amusement park. It’s a microcosm of the urban composition of the Greater Buenos Aires area, which Minelli presents in a precise and straightforward way.

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Minelli’s website is not, at the time of this writing, active yet, but it says “very soon”.  Recently The Black Snapper featured an essay of photos from Barrio Piedra Buena, another big “monoblock” complex located in the neighborhood. Also soon to be published in Europe is a monograph, The Skin of the Cities.

Drugs, Tires & Mattresses

April 10, 2010

There are other photographers working in these cities but they do the people-centric ghetto photography. You see the folks drugging themselves, and the children playing with tires and mattresses—the same thing that doesn’t tell you anything.

Camilo Jose Vergara in a 2007 interview featured on American Suburb X

Vivi Abelson

April 6, 2010

Currently on view at Galeria Centrica are some photographs by the young Argentine photographer, Vivi Abelson.

© Vivi Abelson

From series Fuerza Círculo © Vivi Abelson

© Vivi Abelson

The gallery is a small room in the basement of an upscale shoe store in Palermo Viejo. The photos on view are simple and subtle, printed without overt manipulation. Here’s a few photos I took of the installation:

Vivi Abelson at Galeria Centrica

Vivi Abelson at Galeria Centrica

The gallery’s website is woefully uninformative so I’ll repeat the information about the show from the brochure. It’s up until April 30, 2010. The store/gallery is located on Francisco Acuña de Figeuroa 1800 and their hours are Monday to Friday 2-8pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. Their phone is +54 11 4865 0143.

Abelson, on the other hand, has a lovely website which I’d recommend checking out. It’s refreshing to see a website  using Indexhibit. I hope it’s a trend that takes off because it’s rare to find photographers from Argentina building websites with simple navigation and big images. I enjoyed her series Olaguer 3096 which consists of pictures of residents from the same building all taken in their respective kitchens. It’s a portrait of middle class porteño life:

From Olaguer 3006 © Vivi Abelson

From Olaguer 3006 © Vivi Abelson

From Olaguer 3006 © Vivi Abelson