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Buenos Aires Photo and Argentinean contemporary photography

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Alfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning

Alfredo Jaar, Gold in the Morning, 2002

 

 

One thing you could doubtlessly claim about contemporary photography, and the Argentinean division in particular, is that it is virtually indefinable. After the boost it has gone through over the past decade, almost everything is being done with photography, for it, and through it. Categories and styles seem obsolete and themes often insufficient to describe the ever-growing techniques of exploration. In Argentina, as it is in most of the world these days, photography is ubiquitous. You see it in nation-wide newspaper publications as much as in fairs, restaurants and the facades of entire buildings. With some of its best know advocates exploding in recognition and prices, photography is what is being done in Argentina right now. And yet, some subjects, ideas, techniques do appear to remain, to make their way through prolific and often impossible to catalogue production.
 
The last edition of Buenos Aires Photo has taken upon its shoulders to condense, systematize and export the exciting photographic work being produced today in South America in general and Argentina in particular. Some of the most interesting galleries working in or around the area gather every year in October to celebrate the fixed image and show some of its highlights. Esteban Pastorino, as the guest of the Espacio de Patio Bullrich, was one of them. With a collection of pictures of forests shot over a 12 year span, Pastorino left aside the technical concerns that characterize most of his production to dive into a subject that has marked not only the history of photography but also the history of art itself, laying a hand on subjects such as ephemerality and permanence so dear to contemporary art production. Nicola Costantino, the renowned Argentinean artist, also had a solo exhibition at Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires: a revision of the portrait tradition as well as key moments in the history of cinema, photography and even painting.
 
Indeed, the “classical” subjects in art and photography seemed to dominate throughout the fair. The notion of landscape, whether outdoors or interior, permeated a large amount of the work shown. Margarita Wilson-Rae´s compositions at Del Infinito Arte recreate chaotic and seemingly post-apocalyptic visions of our environment along the symbolic line of Alejandro Chaskileberg’s Nocturama series presented at Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte, which explore the darkness of the subjects rather than that of the night itself.  Particularly interesting were the varied approaches to the still life, updating and revitalizing a subject always eloquent in its time. The work of Sofia Abboud shown by Modo 7 Gallery, for example, manages not only to capture a particular quality of light but also to depict, with a certain melancholy, a world on the verge of change. Florencia Blanco, another young French-Argentinean photographer, works on the subject of death by photographing “Oil photos”, a kind of photo-realist painted portrait very popular in Argentina around the 1950s and 60s in different contexts, thus making a place for the dead amongst the living.
 
Despite the well-achieved experimentation such as Bruno Dubner’s camera-less photographs (VVVgallery) or Cecilia Biagini’s abstract compositions (Van Riel), the body, and its many permutations, continues to be the preferred subject in contemporary Argentinean photography. From performances, to self-portraits and mise-en-scènes, the human form is, and will probably always be, the most fascinating of subjects. Perhaps because it is what best tells the tale of history. Perhaps because ultimately, it is not about photography but about ourselves.

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, La creciente, 2007

Alejandro Chaskielberg, La creciente, 2007

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, La caída, 2008

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, La caída, 2008

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, Bahía Negra, Río Paraguay, 2009

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, Bahía Negra, Río Paraguay, 2009

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, Punta del Diablo, 2009

 

Alejandro Chaskielberg, Punta del Diablo, 2009

Name index: 
Emiliano Valdes

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Magenta Foundation: Flash Forward 2010

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There are only a few more days left to submit to Magenta Foundation’s
Flash Forward
competition for emerging photographers, which closes on December
31st 2009. This year's group exhibition will take place as part of the Flash
Forward Festival's nightly events. With $5,000 in prizes, exhibition opportunities
and a published catalogue, this is a great opportunity for emerging
photographers.

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Transitions Art Gallery

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CALL FOR NEW WORLD IDENTITY LAB PROJECT CONTRIBUTIONS

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What does the world dine on 25th December? Whether festive day or not.

Roast pork or turkey? Carp with potatoe salad or fondue chinoise? Stew or sausages? Casual lunch?…

The objective is to document your set table on 25th December 2009.
The approach is up to you – it could be a picture, a movie, an audio recording, or any other medium of your choice.
Please include the location. Feel free to comment to your contribution.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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Future of the Photo Book

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Daylight Magazine's editors were asked to participate in an ongoing conversation focusing on the future of photo-books. This conversation was orchestrated by Flak Photo and the Resolve blog. For more posts check out:  http://bit.ly/7yBOmW

Michael Itkoff: The importance of the photographic book has only grown during this increasingly digitized era. Perhaps the tactility or permanence of the object holds more weight now that ephemeral pixels and bits engage in a continual dance on our screens. 

As a photographer, publisher and collector I see the monograph as an important end-point for completed bodies-of-work. Some projects are not fully realized until they can be read, studied, flipped through, consolidated, in one place. I often feel the experience of looking through a photo book is a personal experience wherein the viewer sees the world through the photographer's eyes. The cumulative effect of the book also allows for a more profound read done according to the viewer's pace. That said, we are looking forward to instituting a small program of printed monographs in addition to the printed editions of Daylight Magazine. And I will continue to compulsively build my collection of photo books indefinitely...

Taj Forer: In my opinion, the photography book is essential to the medium. While photography is undergoing massive changes at this moment in history as relates to broad conversations about analog vs. digital, etc., etc., etc., it is perhaps helpful to remember that this magical process of recording evolved as a print medium. For over a century, the photography book has represented the culmination, or finality, of a body of photographic work. While this may be untrue for some photographers working today, I believe that the vast majority of photographers continue to perceive the printed book to be essential to their practice. These roots are deep and represent a true underpinning of photographic dissemination. Yes, I am aware of the "The Internets" and everything that this wonderful phenomenon implicates for the distribution of photographic imagery. However, the tangible, archival nature of the photography book (of any book, for that matter) excites me in ways that the web simply cannot approximate. The experience of pouring over the pages of a finely printed monograph, of smelling its ink, being careful not to crack the spine or crimp the pages, touching the images if I'm feeling dangerous, returning day after day, month after month, year after year cannot be found in any other capacity. And perhaps that's it, perhaps its the experience I'm after. Perhaps it has nothing to do with anything apart from that inarticulable space within which I find myself, time after time, when sitting with a book of photographs and a good light source. This experience, shared by countless people in countless corners of the world, is one that I cannot imagine living without. I hope the same is true for you. While photography publishers slash their lists and tighten their belts, web traffic soars and e-readers fly off the shelves. After all, I suppose its all about the dollar and offset printing is only getting more expensive. So, let this serve as a reminder to us all that without demand, product cannot exist because we live in a capitalist world, plain and simple. Therefore, let us consume! It is our responsibility as members of the photographic community, as consumers of photography, to continue our fetishized behavior by buying these beautiful objects, opening them, smelling them, touching them, laying them in our laps and getting lost in them. It is really almost too good to be true, the photography book, so I wouldn't be surprised if, like many things wonderful and important, we mess it all up and they vanish forever. However, it is certainly far from dead. So, let's go out this holiday season and by some photography books. And then, when the holiday season is over, let's go out and keep buying photography books! Without us, the production of these beautiful records will most likely cease and with the end of photography book production the medium will undergo vast changes that I fear will not be for better. Its up to us, it really is.

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