Archive for August, 2010

6×6 Magic

August 26, 2010

I’ve noticed a trend with a lot of photography here in Argentina:

© Guillermo Ueno

© Nacho Coló

© Ignacio Iasparra

© Florencia Blanco

Verano Porteño by Eduardo Carrera

Bride by Gaby Messina from the series Lima, KM 100

Esquina by Norberto Salerno, photograph taken with Walzflex TLR with slide film expired in 2000

© Alina Schwarcz, from series Tigre

From Olaguer 3006 © Vivi Abelson

© Emma Livingston

© Alessandra Sanguinetti

© Soledad Manrique

© Guadalupe Miles

© María José D'amico

Let me be upfront and state that I’m not a fan of the square format. There is a preciousness and nostalgia about it that turns me off.

Why all the 6×6 photos in Argentina? Given the high cost of film and cameras here, using medium format seems to convey a level of seriousness that 35mm or digital don’t. Using the 6×6 format is an easy way of calling attention to one’s seriousness, be it with a Hasselblad or a Holga.

I like all of the photos and photographers that I’m posting here. I don’t mean to criticize their work or their choice of using the 6×6 format. There are legitimate artistic reasons for choosing to shoot square format. I should also state that in declaring my general dislike of the square I’m being completely hypocritical, having made any number of square photographs myself.

This trend isn’t limited to Argentina. There’s a group on flickr called 6×6 magic with almost 200,000 photos posted to it. There are enough film borders, soft corners, dreamy black & white landscapes, and desaturated colors to last a lifetime. Need I mention that there’s no “6×7 magic” group?

Lungs / Pulmones

August 23, 2010

© Thomas Locke Hobbs

Another series I’ve recently added to my website is Lungs [or, in Spanish, Pulmones]. The title refers to pulmón de manzana which is the open, interior space of city blocks.  In Buenos Aires real estate parlance, apartments that overlook this area are called contrafrente because they face away from the street. In this series I’ve sought out views from different contrafrente apartments. Pulmones de manzana are typically these jumbled messes of buildings from different eras, sandwiched together without any aesthetic consideration. The space created is this weird mix of public and private, viewable to its residents but belonging to no one. It’s like a shared secret amongst all the neighbors on the block [at least the ones with contrafrente views].

The photos are presented as diptychs. The view is the same in each photo. The first was taken at the minute of sunset [I look it up online before hand]. The second photo is 15 minutes later. The light changes a lot in those 15 minutes. The second photo typically has about 3-stops more exposure so the artificial lights are 8-times stronger. Street lights turn on during this interval and people, if they are home, turn on their lights.

© Thomas Locke Hobbs

I am still working on this series, so if you know anyone in Buenos Aires with a view like this, please send me an email;

Just like Don Ramón

August 20, 2010

For a lot of people the idea of a photo shoot conjures up images of flashing softboxes, make-up artists, assistants, thumping techno music, and a David Bailey style photographer. In trying to explain what I do to potential subjects, most of whom have never seen a view camera, I often find myself referencing the enormously popular, 1970s Mexican childrens’ show El Chavo del 8. On the show, Don Ramon, one of the characters, is occasionally seen clumsily operating an old view camera. I tell people, I’m just like Don Ramon.

Here’s a video clip. Between the Mexican slang and the horrible audio quality, I end up having an easier time understanding the show when it’s dubbed in Portuguese.

Here’s me:

Some Guys

August 16, 2010


I’ve posted a new series to my personal website. It’s called “Some Guys.” The brief text states:

Portraits of some guys, mostly in Argentina

What else can I say about the pictures? I shot most of them here in Buenos Aires, although there are a few from the United States. Most of the guys are Argentine, although not all of them. Most of the guys are gay, although, again, not all of them. Some are friends I’ve known for years, others are guys I met for the sole purpose of making a portrait.

I don’t get tired of looking at a portrait that I love. There’s something almost narcotic about gazing at an 8×10 contact print. A drug habit, however, would probably be cheaper.


Joachim Schmid – Praça Rui Barbosa

August 13, 2010

Joachim Schmid - Praça Rui Barbosa

It might have been 2003 or 2004. I was perusing an art bookstore in Chelsea and I came across this book of portraits. They were ID photos taken in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and printed by the artist who gathered the discarded negatives from the plaza where the photographers worked. I didn’t buy the book nor write down the artists name. The project didn’t seem that significant in the moment but it stuck with me over time. Unfortunately I could never remember who it was by.

I was very happy to rediscover the project on the web. It’s by Joachim Schmid and the title is Praça Rui Barbosa. Schmid writes:

After the photographs are taken they run to the nearest lab to get the strip of film developed and printed. The clients pick up their portraits about half an hour after they were taken. Negatives are still discarded. During my stay in Belo Horizonte I got up very early every morning before the street cleaners start to work, walked to the square and collected all the negatives I found.

Jungla at le bar

August 12, 2010

Lorena Fernandez in Jungla at Le Bar

le bar is a trendy, after work bar in downtown Buenos Aires. Right now in their upstairs section is a colective show of photographs that’s unusually good for a restaurant. It’s called JUNGLA. I went for the opening. I liked the photo above by Lorena Fernandez [as of my writing this the site does not work, hopefully that will be fixed].

Anük Torre Obeid

Apparently Barbara Eden has resurfaced in the Parana river delta.

There’s a book available that goes with the exhibit:

Jungla book

Unfortunately it cost 150 pesos [about US$38 at todays exchange rates]. To give you a sense of the size of the photo book market here a grand total of 100 were printed. Still, I was tempted to buy it for a spectacular photograph of a factory surrounded by century plants [see my previous post on agave americana]. The photo is by Guillermo Andres Romero. Unfortunately his website is en construcción.

JUNGLA’s website, however, has a pretty good overview of the exhibit and the participating photographers. The mostly seem to have day jobs in the movie industry. Also, I see more and more sites here using indexhibit, which is surely a good sign.

le bar is located at Tucuman 422 and the show is upstairs. It’s on view until September 30, 2010.

Las Palmas at Galeria Centrica

August 12, 2010

Las Palmas at Galeria Centrica

Currently at Galeria Centrica is a group show called show called Las Palmas. It features 70-ish photos by over 30 photographers posted loosely in groups on three of the gallery’s walls. There’s a mix of well-known photographers and lesser known newcomers. The contributors’ page helpfully links to each photographer’s web presence, if they have any. I was particularly taken with this landscape by Nicolas Larraquet:

Nicolas Larraquet at Galeria Centrica

I can find absolutely nothing on Larraquet online. No website, no blog, no flickr account, not even a facebook profile.  In this day and age, this intrigues me all the more. The photos on display offer  at-a-glance and overview of a  school of contemporary, artistically minded photography here in Buenos Aires that is concerned with gorgeous light, sublime moments and unstructured leisure time.

Las Palmas is on view until September 3, 2010. Galeria Centrica is located on Acuña de Figeuroa 1800 and is open Mon-Fri 2-8pm and Saturday 11am-5pm. The gallery is in the basement. Upstairs its a shoestore. Don’t be deterred.