Archive for January, 2011

Alfredo Srur – Geovanny No Quiere Ser Rambo

January 25, 2011

© Alfredo Srur

© Alfredo Srur

© Alfredo Srur

Alfredo Srur is a photojournalist from Argentina who’s work deals primarily with violence and struggle in marginalized communities in Latin America. He recently had a book published in Argentina concerning the life of a young man in the violent neighborhoods of Medellín, Colombia. It’s called Geovanny No Quiere Ser Rambo.  The book is part of the series Colección Fotógrafos Argentinos. Unfortunately their site is in flash so I can’t link to the specific book, but on the site are more images from the book as well as the introductory text (in Spanish).

I’m not generally a fan of grainy black and white images but this work is extremely powerful. The book closes with a series of letters between Srur and Geovanny. The language is simple and devastating as Geovanny recounts his life and dreams. I contacted Srur and he sent me a full resolution scan of one of these letters, which is posted below. Click on it to read it in its full size.

Update: When I wrote this post I had no idea that January was going to be Alfredo Srur month on the internet. Go check out great interviews of Srur on Too Much Chocolate and Juanele.

Roberto Páramo

January 18, 2011

Roberto Páramo (1859-1939) made these small landscapes in watercolor and oil and cardboard. They are little works, most just the size of a post-card or slightly larger. Mostly they depict rural scenes in the flat plains to the east of Bogotá. Páramo taught at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Bogotá for 38 years and never left his native Colombia.

These small, humble works of incredible beauty were the highlight of my visit to Bogotá’s museums last year. I remember asking the the clerk at the bookstore of the National Museum if there were any books on his work. He sighed and said, no. He explained that unless you’re an international art star like Fernando Botero, nobody cares and there’s no market for it. You can see more of Páramo’s images here.

Guadalupe Ruiz

January 11, 2011

So it’s January 11th and I should almost be arriving in Bogotá assuming all went well.

Guadalupe Ruiz mixes portraits, interiors, landscapes and architecture in and around Bogotá. The same people pop up in various series. Perhaps they are her family but they seem more like actors in noir-ish telenovelas put out by her own personal TV studio.

© Guadalupe Ruiz from the series 'La Bella Suiza'

© Guadalupe Ruiz from the series 'Cuarenta con Trece'

© Guadalupe Ruiz from the series 'Bogota, DC'

© Guadalupe Ruiz from the series 'La Fucking Family'

Ruiz is from Colombia but currently resides in Switzerland. Surely the best part about moving to another country is being able to register a domain name like !! It almost makes me want to register It’s available. I just checked.

Maria Terece Ponce – Kimun

January 10, 2011

Maria Teresa Ponce‘s series Kimun shows pictures that follow the route of an oil pipeline that traverse’s Ecuador’s landscape. The pipeline strikes me as a great construct for linking together a bunch of disparate landscape photographs which are nevertheless linked, literally, but also socially and economically by the impact of the oil industry.

© Maria Teresa Ponce

© Maria Teresa Ponce

© Maria Teresa Ponce

Lima, Peru: Carlos Jimenez Cahua, Noah Addis, Maciek Jasik and some German guy named Thomas

January 8, 2011

Sometime around now I should be arriving in Lima, Peru. I’ve been there twice and I find the city bewitching from a photographic standpoint. Apparently I’m not the only one:

© Carlos Jimenez Cahua from the series 'Ciudad de los Reyes'

© Carlos Jimenez Cahua from the series 'Ciudad de los Reyes'

© Carlos Jimenez Cahua from the series 'Ciudad de los Reyes'

Lima is foggy nine months out of the year due to the cold Humboldt current that runs up the Pacific coast of South America. I can understand how it might be depressing for the residents but the fog plus the otherworldly desert landscape, devoid of trees and vegetation makes for one incredible canvas for pictures. Then, there is the social landscape which, given the rapid urban transformation of Lima over the last several decades is equally fascinating.

Carlos Jimenez Cahua’s series, ‘Ciudad de los Reyes‘ is a tour de force. The photos blow me away and make me think twice about ever trying to take a photo in Lima. They are by far my favorite I’ve seen of the city but here are some more, so you get a sense of the possibilities:

© Noah Addis from the series 'Future Cities: Lima'

© Noah Addis from the series 'Future Cities: Lima'

The above from Noah Addis’ series ‘Future Cities: Lima‘.

© Maciek Jasik from the series 'Pueblos Jovenes'

© Maciek Jasik from the series 'Pueblos Jovenes'

From Maciek Jasik’s series Pueblo Jovenes. If you’re from Lima you are probably hating me right now for showing only the poor periphery of the city in this post. Too bad. Even Thomas Struth is getting in on the action:

Thomas Struth in Lima, Peru

This last image is from a post on the blog PeruFotoLibre, one of my favorite blogs anywhere and required reading for anyone interested in contemporary photography in South America.

The Vargas Brothers of Arequipa, Peru

January 7, 2011

Continuing northward and into Peru, I present a few photographs from the studio of the Vargas Brothers of Areuipa who maintained a studio there from 1912 to 1958.

Nighttime scene by the Vargas Brothers

The Plaza of Arequipa by the Vargas Brothers

Conscripts, 1918, Vargas Brothers

This last photo totally stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw it in a book. It was then explained to me that these were meant for military ID cards and that the contact print would be cut-up into little pieces just featuring the heads. More photos here.

Caliche Living

January 5, 2011

© Daniel Melo from series 'Caliche Living'

© Daniel Melo from series 'Caliche Living'

Daniel Melo’s series from northern Chile, Caliche Living, made while living in Antofagasta for a year. Caliche is a type of sedimentary rock common to desert climates.

I also loved this image of a trail near Cuzco, Peru from his series Eight the Gate.

© Daniel Melo from series 'Eight the Gate'

Guadalupe Miles

January 4, 2011

© Guadalupe Miles from the series 'Chaco'

© Guadalupe Miles from the series 'Chaco'

Over the course of the next week or ten days I will be traveling overland from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Bogotá, Colombia. This is a bit of a folly on my part, mostly the result of bad planning and the excessive airfares of the southern hemispheric summer.

Here on this blog I try to relate inspirational experiences of photographs dealing with where ever I happen to be. Since I’m likely to be stuck on a bus and without an internet connection for the time being I decided to write these posts in advance. What follows, then, is an imaginary journey that roughly parallels my own route up the continent, highlighting works that I admire that deal with place I’m to be passing through.

First up is Guadalupe Miles’ marvelous series Chaco. It’s a series of portraits of taken in an indigenous community in the northern Argentine province of Salta. A fellow student in a photojournalism class criticized this work as “demasiado progragonismo.” For me it’s precisely that progratonism and the sense of play in these portraits that make them so beguiling.

Demasiado Chocolate

January 1, 2011

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Szankay for the site Too Much Chocolate.

Also, last week I was myself interviewed by Emiliano Granado.