Archive for May, 2010

João Pina & a Chalet in the New York Times

May 30, 2010

A recently published photo essay on the New York Times’ Lens Blog features photos by Portuguese photojournalist João Pina showing sites of clandestine detention centers in Chile and Argentina that were active during the countries’ respective military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. The essay also features contemporary portraits of survivors of the state repression as well as relatives of the disappeared.

While this might seem incredibly trivial, I couldn’t help but notice that the final photo in the essay features a Buenos Aires Chalet-style house in the background:

© Joao Pina

From the piece:

Mr. Pina said he was struck by how ordinary the locations were — garages, a sports stadium, offices. “Most of them are places that can be in the corner of our houses,” he said. “They’re very normal places”

Sol Levinas & Luna Paiva at Recoleta

May 26, 2010

Currently at the Centro Cultural Recoleta are two small photography shows. As you enter, in the hallway is Parecidos by Sol Levinas:

From the series Parecidos by Sol Levinas

Parecidos consists of photographs of three generations of Levinas’ own family, grouped by age and family; Levinas & her brothers, her father & uncle, her grandmother, and nieces & nephews. The uniform clothing and neutral presentation invites comparisons of genetic similarites across the generations:

Parecidos by Sol Levinas, at Centro Cultural Recoleta

This is a picture I took from the installation. The photo in the middle is a self-portrait of the artist herself. Levinas website is still under construction but a few of the photos from this series can be seen at Eduardo Gil’s website [disclosure: I’m currently taking classes with Eduardo].

Further down the hall is Vida de Diva by Luna Paiva. The series shows the Argentine version of show-girls, known as vedettes, posing in full regalia inside of their homes/apartments.

Vida de Diva by Luna Paiva

Vida de Diva by Luna Paiva

I enjoyed the contrast of the outlandish costumes with the ordinary and often sparsely furnished apartments, familar from my own experiences with furnished rentals for foreigners here in Buenos Aires. I was reminded a bit of Daniela Rossell’s Ricas y Famosas which depicted sheltered girls of Mexico City’s upper class. The difference here is that these vedettes are fully complicit in the project of making them look ridiculous, presumably as more publicity in their own desire to be come ricas and famosas.

Luna’s website has a few of the Diva portraits under the Portraits 2 section. Here’s one of the incomparable, ur-Vedette, Isabel Coco Sarli that I didn’t find on the website but is on show:

Coco Sarli from Vida de Diva by Luna Paiva

Both shows close on May 30, 2010.

Terrorism, Advertising, Plane Crashes & Photography

May 20, 2010

Terrorism is a gesture of advertising; it’s a literary act, a form of representation, before all else. Its aim is not primarily to kill, but to capture the popular imagination through killing. It’s for this reason that I’m drawn to the air disaster: there is no finer, more succinct, more international, and more culturally loaded expression of the catastrophe than a plane crash. An airliner in vertical descent is a spectacle of modernity’s complete failure. It is horrifying, but also aesthetically powerful—and it’s for these reasons that terrorists covet the air disaster. I feel that photographers, who work in close proximity to advertising, can enter the terrorist’s symbolic order and violate the same taboos.

Richard Mosse interviewed on BLDGBLOG about his project photographing plane crash sites.

Flickr Finds: Lagocardiel & the Patagonian Landscape

May 14, 2010

While randomly browsing for images of Patagonian oil town of Comodoro Rivadavia I came across the photographs of flickr user lagocardiel, known in real life as Hector Fabian Garrido. Spanning two decades and consisting of over a thousand photos, Garrido’s archives shows the Patagonian landscape taken over the course of his job in seismic exploration. Beyond the obvious and stunning beauty of the landscape lies a certain innocent exuberance that reminds me of 19th century photography. The implications of mineralogical exploitation of the landscape is subsumed in boyish wonder.  The giant seismic vibrators resemble tonka trucks as the roll across they tree-less landscape.

Seismic Vibrators by Hector Fabian Garrido

Bosque Magallanico in Southern Chile by Hector Fabian Garrido

Base GPS by Hector Fabian Garrido

Hacia otra posicion by Hector Fabian Garrido

Seismic Vibrators by Hector Fabian Garrido

Here’s a picture with text that explains what the seismic vibrators do.

Alina Schwarcz at Centro Cultural Rojas

May 4, 2010

Centro Cultural Rojas on Corrientes & Junin is showing photos by Alina Schwarcz. It’s called Secreto de Chicas [or Girl Secrets]. The show is up until May 22, 2010.

Alina Schwarcz at Centro Cultural Rojas

This was the only photo I managed to snap before the languid receptionist informed me that photography was not allowed [there was nothing posted]. Ironically for a show titled “secreto de chicas” I took one of the only photos of a guy. Go figure. I’m a big fan of including imacs, macbooks and iphones in photographs. I think they’re a key marker of our present day, sort of like Stephen Shore’s 1970’s automobiles, or Walker Evans’ movie posters.

Alina Shwarcz does not have a website but here’s some links I was able to dig up googling her; vvv gallery, proyecto panda, bola de nieve, ramona web. Ironically this post will probably be #2 or #3 in about a week.

Here’s some photos I was able to dig up. These are all from previous projects and exhibitions. I couldn’t find any photos from the current show, which I guess is all the more reason to see the show [if you’re fortunate enough to be in Buenos Aires].

© Alina Schwarcz, from series Tigre

© Alina Schwarcz, from series Tigre

I want one of those floating camera bags.

© Alina Schwarcz