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”.
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.
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.
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.