Posts Tagged ‘gian paolo minelli’

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.

Soledad Manrique – Lugano

July 10, 2011

Browsing the June issue of the online magazine Big Sur, I came across photos by Soledad Manrique of Villa Lugano, a neighborhood in the south-east corner of Buenos Aires with several mega-housing projects, known in the local parlance as “mono-blocs”.

© Soledad Manrique - Lugano

Swiss photographer Gian Paolo Minelli has an extensive body of work on this neighborhood, which I wrote about last year. Minelli’s work is stiff and formal in the best way. Manrique’s approach is more tender and sensitive. She has a way with portraiture.

© Soledad Manrique - Lugano

© Soledad Manrique - Lugano

The neighborhood has a bad reputation for crime, drugs and violence. I appreciate that Manrique doesn’t fall into cliche in her depiction of the neighborhood. The photos in the magazine are paired with images from Huanguelen, an idyllic rural zone in the south of Buenos Aires Province.

© Soledad Manrique - Huanguelen

Big Sur is an interesting online magazine, combining photography, short videos, essays and poetry from artists mostly from Argentina but also from elsewhere in South America and beyond. Also be sure to check out Manrique’s website. She has a lot of work and it’s worthwhile seeing (including more photos of Villa Lugano). I first wrote about her work on this blog in 2009 at a time when she didn’t have a website. In the two year’s since I’ve started this blog it’s been encouraging the number of young photographers in Argentina making good websites.

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

April 12, 2010

Gian Paolo Minelli is a Swiss photographer who has been based in Buenos Aires for the last ten years. Currently on view at the Centro Cultural Recoleta is a substantial show of his work from Villa Lugano and Barrio Piedra Buena, both located in the southwest corner of the city. The show runs until May 2, 2010.

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Minelli photographs with a 4×5 camera and the photos are highly detailed, 40×50″ C-prints with a ton of detail.

Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Here’s an example of a detail I hadn’t noticed when looking at smaller reproductions. The photo above depicts Lugano I y II, a massive housing project in Villa Lugano. Between the central tower and the more distant towers on the left are these small, silver structures:

Parking Structures in Lugano I y II, photo by Gian Paolo Minelli at Centro Cultural Recoleta

Looking at the large print I could see that they were informally built parking structures in the common parking area of the complex.

Accompanying the exhibit is a catalog featuring many more photos of a project specifically focused on the neighborhood of Villa Lugano. The book was funded in part by the city of Lugano in Switzerland, which strikes me as a clever way to sell a project.

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano has a little bit of everything urbanistically; mundane middle class areas, massive Soviet-style apartment towers, shantytowns, mega-supermarkets, a golf course and even an abandoned amusement park. It’s a microcosm of the urban composition of the Greater Buenos Aires area, which Minelli presents in a precise and straightforward way.

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Villa Lugano 2008-2009 by Gian Paolo Minelli

Minelli’s website is not, at the time of this writing, active yet, but it says “very soon”.  Recently The Black Snapper featured an essay of photos from Barrio Piedra Buena, another big “monoblock” complex located in the neighborhood. Also soon to be published in Europe is a monograph, The Skin of the Cities.