Jorg Bruggemann is a German photographer who has several projects shot in South America. I was particularly interested in his work, Mas Austral, which shows working class youth and landscapes in Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina’s [and the World’s] southernmost city.
As Bruggemann notes in his text accompanying the series:
A free trade zone was established which led to fast urban development. Whereas in 1975 there were 7000 people living in Ushuaia, today it hosts nearly 60 000. Most of them were young families coming North of Argentina looking for work with their children. They are also the reason why I went to the world’s most Southern city. I wanted to know what it was like being young while living at the end of the world.
What I find interesting about the series is that, take away the pine trees and sloped landscape and this could be any working class suburb of Buenos Aires. Indeed, while Northern Argentina has distinct regional cultures dating back to the colonial era, most of Patagonia has been settled fairly recently and, culturally, is something of an annex to Buenos Aires province. Rather than being some exotic, uttermost place as imagined by Bruce Chatwin, Ushuaia is really just like a bunch of pibes from Lanús.
Bruggemann also has a great series, The Same but Different, documenting backpacker culture around the world. At some point I’ll write a post about the idea of gringos in contemporary photography, for which this series will be key.