Archive for September, 2011

Gian Paolo Minelli – Playas

September 30, 2011

Gian Paolo Minelli’s series “Playas,” depicts empty parking lots in downtown Buenos Aires. More specifically, it depicts the canvas netting that provides shade and protects cars from the occasional hail storm.

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

When I first saw the series a couple of years ago, I thought the subject matter was cheesy and obvious. Actually, I still feel that way. What’s changed is that now, really looking at the series again, I realize the photos are subtle and finely composed shots of light, pattern and shadow. I think in the end all subjects are cliche at some level. Execution matters most. Here are more jpegs from Minelli’s site. You’ll have to trust me when I say that the 1 meter-sized prints look marvelous.

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

© Gian Paolo Minelli from the series "Playas"

Previously I wrote about Minelli’s work on Villa Lugano, which I really, really like. Also, I was reminded of Fernando Di Sisto’s work which I recently wrote about.

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Santiago Porter

September 25, 2011

© Santiago Porter

© Santiago Porter

© Santiago Porter

Santiago Porter’s recent photographs indirectly deal with Argentina’s history of the 60 years. Shot in a formal, austere style, his  subjects include facades of government ministries, headless statues of deposed presidents, prison guard towers, clandestine torture centers run by the last military dictatorship, a bullet scarred wall, unifished highway overpasses, half-built and abandoned hospitals.

There’s currently a show of his really big photos [they look great] at the gallery Zavaleta Lab, located in San Telmo. Here’s a couple of photos I took at the show’s opening.

Santiago Porter in Zavaleta Lab

Santiago Porter at Zavaleta Lab

I also really like Porter’s series, Piezas. Much more personal in scope, the project documents fleeing moments and intimate space. The prints themselves are these tiny, utterly precious things. They make for an interesting counterpoint to his large format color work.

© Santiago Porter from the series "Piezas"

Gabriel Diaz – Formas de Vida

September 22, 2011

There’s a really interesting show by photographer Gabriel Diaz called Formas de Vida [or Forms of Life] at the Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin. The series takes a dry look at social and economic inequality in Buenos Aires as manifested through the built environment.

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

The series functions as a inventory of living arrangements sorted by social class; homeless encampments, shanty-towns, working class suburbs, housing projects, middle class suburbs, heavily-guarded mansions, and a five-star hotel. One exception missing from the series are photos of gated communities [barrios cerrados], which dot the suburbs of Buenos Aires [and which I wrote a little about in my post Slums and Gated Communities].

The images above were taken from the website of Revista Crisis, which is currently featuring a number of photos from this same body of work. The issue is titled malas raices and is all about problems with real estate development and urbanism. The term for real estate in Spanish is bienes raices, or literally, good roots. The title of the magazine is a pun; malas raices, bad roots. Here’s a picture of the cover with another of Diaz’s photographs:

Cover of the current issue of Crisis

This is the sixth issue of the 2nd incarnation of Crisis magazine. The first appeared for three brief years in the 1970s between military dictatorships and featured writing by some of the most important novelists and intellectuals of the era. It was shut down shortly after the coup in 1976 and it was considered dangerous even owning a copy [more info].

Back to the exhibit, here’s a few photos of the installation at Fotogaleria San Martin, which is located on Avenida Corrientes 1530. The show is up until October 2, 2011.

Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin

Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin

The prints look great, although the space itself is a little depressing; dark and stuck in a far corner of the ground floor. It used to be a shortcut to an adjacent street, which at least guaranteed a little foot traffic, but it’s been closed off for years now. Nevertheless, the Fotogaleria is the oldest space in Buenos Aires dedicated to showing photography, having started up shortly after the return to democracy in 1983, and one of the most important. It’s run by Juan Travnik, a grosso of Argentine photography, and the director of an ongoing workshop through which a number of the photographers I’ve featured on this blog have passed.

As for Gabriel Diaz, he doesn’t appear to have a website. It doesn’t help that his name isn’t very Google-friendly. In fact, there are three photographers and one illustrator who all share his name [and have websites]. The website La Pulseada features an interview with Diaz [in Spanish] where he talks about this and another work of pictures of street children. Diaz is also the director of the Coleccíon de Fotógrafos Argentinos, a series of individual monographs by Argentine photographers. I’ve previously written about one, Geovanny No Quiere Ser Rambo by Alfredo Srur.

Recoleta Cemetery Vista

September 7, 2011

Recoleta Cemetery at dusk (click for larger image)

I’ve been very slowly advancing in my Pulmones | Lungs project this year. It has been complicated finding new vistas. Coordinating to go over to someone’s apartment is tricky, especially when things are often decided at the last minute. I also decided that I like the light best on heavily cloudy days, which only complicates things more.

The above shot doesn’t even go with the series but I’m a sucker for vistas and couldn’t turn down the chance to photograph one of Buenos Aires’ iconic sites, the Recoleta Cemetery.