Posts Tagged ‘florencia blanco’

Retratos Pintados – Painted Portraits and the Lima Photography Biennial

March 20, 2012

I’m very lucky to be in Lima right now because kicking off this week is Lima’s first ever Photography Biennial. As part of the event there are over 30 official shows, about half a dozen of which opened last night. My first stop was at a show of painted photo portraits entitled “Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana” (Visual Memory: the Illuminated Portrait and Daily Life). The exhibit, which is curated by Carlos Sánchez Giraldo and  Sofía Velásquez Núñez contains painted photo portraits from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Installation view of "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The wall text mentions that the curators were inspired to mount this show because they themselves had grown up with the constant gaze of these portraits (of grandparents, great grandparents) in their houses. Painted portraits were very common across Latin America. The involved painting directly on black and white photos. They have this weird way of bringing the subjects to life (in color) but also sucking the life out by removing the photo-ness of the image.

There seems to be a lot of interest in retratos pintados today. Photo historian Geoffrey Batchen has written about fotoesculturas in Mexico as part of his interest in vernacular photography. Yossi Milo Gallery in New York did a show of Brazilian retratos pintados in 2010. In Argentina, Florencia Blanco did a series of photos placing retratos in different contexts. While I was in Iquitos recently, nearly every house I went into had one of these portraits hanging on the walls.

The curators did a fantastic job of mounting the show, decorating the space with vintage wall paper and furniture, making the gallery into a cozy, domestic space. It allows the visitor to appreciate the domestic function of these portraits and makes visiting the show an experience that cannot be reproduced in a book or website (or blog post!).

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

In viewing some of the portraits I was reminded of the Fayum Portraits from ancient Roman Egypt, some of my favorite works of art. I was particularly fascinated by a few of the portraits where the paint was laid on very lightly in places.

Retrato Pintado

There is an interesting play between the painted surface and monochromatic undersurface. Where the paint is light, it’s like the flesh is dissolving away. This is cheesy, I know, but I was reminded of the end of Terminator, when Arnold’s flesh is gradually stripped away in places, revealing the silvery robot underneath.

The front room of the exhibit has painted images from the last 20 years. The practice of directly painting on black and white photographs has died out and one of the many current vernacular practices of family photography involve making painted versions of pictures, often snapshots.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

It’s weird to see these pictures all hung together. I haven’t paid much attention to these recent photo-paintings before. They lack the formal stiffness and nostalgic charm of the retratos pintados and sit in this sort of uncanny valley of being too recent to be revered. Still, I appreciated their inclusion for showing the ongoing customs of vernacular photography in Peru.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The show is up until April 28, 2012. If you are in Lima, do go see it.

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Feria de Libros de Fotografia de Autor 2011

August 14, 2011

The Feria de Libros de Fotos de Autor is taking place currently in Buenos Aires. It’s a book fair featuring locally published photo books.  The small fair takes place at Espacio Eclectico on Humberto Primo 730 in San Telmo and runs for another weekend. Here’s a few snaps I took.

Feria de Libros de Fotografía de Autor

Feria de Libros de Fotografía de Autor

The fair also features clever one-off,  home-made albums, and some objects that stretch the definition of “book”

Bichitos Mios by Belén Revollo

On the walls are mini exhibits by some excellent photographers; Florencia Blanco, Sebastian Szyd, Ananké Asseff, Facundo de Zuviría, Luciana Betesh, and Sergio Liste.

Florencia Blanco & Sebastián Szyd

Ananké Asseff

Facundo de Zuviría

Sergio Liste

I ended up buying a couple of books; Fachadas de Rafaella by Jimena Passadore and Imagenes en Memoria by Gerardo Dell’Oro They’re both quite good. I think I’ll end up writing separate posts about each but for now here’s a quick snap of each:

Fachadas de Rafaela de Jimena Passadore

Imágenes en Memoria by Gerardo Dell'Oro

Imágenes en Memoria by Gerardo Dell'Oro

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?

Florencia Blanco – Fotos al Oleo

July 4, 2010

© Florencia Blanco

© Florencia Blanco

© Florencia Blanco

Florencia Blanco takes vintage, oil painted photos and recontextualizes them, placing them in landscapes with colors and tones which complement the photo [link]. Also check out her series Salteños, which depicts the northern Argentine province of Salta.