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.

6 Responses to “Gabriel Diaz – Formas de Vida”

  1. Albano Says:

    Hola Thomas, una pequeña aclaración, si bien es correcta tu observación sobre el juego de palabras, bienes raíces no es lo mismo que buenas raíces, el hincapié es en bienes, no en raíces, se refiere a que son bienes que no se pueden mover (de ahí tambien la palabra inmueble, no movible). Vos me podrás ayudar con una mejor traducción: rooted goods? Abrazo, muy bueno el blog.

  2. thomashobbs Says:

    Albano, thanks for the comment. You are correct that I’m confusing “bueno” and “bien.” I like “rooted goods” as a literal translation!

    bem, meu bem🙂

  3. Antonio Says:

    Te hice caso y fui a visitar la galería del San Martín! Quedé contento (es un muy buen trabajo) y de paso comprobé que ya había visto varias fotos sueltas en selecciones de concursos como el del Banco Ciudad. Verlas juntas, en contexto, fue aún mejor.


  4. […] here’s some previous posts with pictures of houses: Gabriel Diaz – Formas de Vida, Pablo Adarme – Cake Houses [Colombia], German Ruiz – Conurbano & Dogs, Sebastian […]


  5. […] thirteen photographers in Argentina.Also, here’s some previous posts with pictures of houses: Gabriel Diaz – Formas de Vida, Pablo Adarme – Cake Houses [Colombia], German Ruiz – Conurbano & Dogs, Sebastian […]


  6. […] PREMIO ADQUISICIÓN Gabriel Diaz Formas de vida – porteño. Bs. As. 2012, 2012 fotografía directa, negativo color, copia inkjet, […]


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