Via the Cord Prize I had the chance to re-see Esteban Pastorino‘s series on the architecture of Francisco Salamone. The photos depict fantastical art-deco structures that were built in small towns of the southern part of Buenos Aires province in Argentina between 1936 and 1940. They were part of a program by the then-governor to construct city halls, cemeteries and slaughterhouses (only in Argentina!). A change of government ended the program and Salamone constructed very little for the remainder of his life.
Pastorino’s photos depict the strange buildings at night, weirdly lit and in isolation. They seem to belong not to just another time but to another planet. The jpegs on the Cord site are nice but the prints are an event to see in person. They are large gum-bichromate prints on heavily textured paper and have a dramatic presence. Interestingly, the images of the series on Pastorino’s website show the texture and it’s interesting to compare the jpegs with those from the Cord site. While showing the texture, these jpegs don’t really manage to capture the presence the prints have in person.
Pastorino is a total bad-ass with a bunch of interesting projects. He often constructs his own cameras and puts them to use in making photos that have a conceptual resonance with his invented cameras. In other words, it’s not just masturbatory gear-geekiness. As if to drive home the point, the top page on his website displays a certificate for a Guiness Book of World Records for the longest panoramic photo. How many photographers have a Guiness World Record?