Tag Archives: Travel

Latin America Week: Guillermo Srodek-Hart

This week, Argentinean photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Guillermo es el quinto fotógrafo de la semana, y ya sólo queda uno…

Guillermo Srodek-Hart is an Argentinean photographer, who grew up and lives in Buenos Aires. His series Stories is about old stores that are located in rural areas. Nostalgia runs very strongly in the Latin DNA, and I think his series is a perfect example of this. Every time I look at these images, I remember what these places smell like and how people dressed at the time even though they are not present in these photographs. They transport me to a different place and time… 
Guillermo has an MFA from Mass College of Art in Boston, MA. He has been exhibited in many venues around the world, and his work has been published by O Globo, Fotografia Argentina, Boston Globe and Art Matters Magazine and several Argentinean newspapers. He is part of several collections such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Attleboro Museum of Art and Fundación Petrobras. In the United States he is represented by Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, Schneider Gallery in Chicago and Gallery Kayafas in Boston.

Image from Stories
What
does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
discovered my Latin heritage while living in Boston as un undergrad
at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The questions about my
origin and my identity came when I was far from them. But I don’t see
myself Latin in the way I photograph. On the contrary, I feel closer
to FSA photographers. If I were living in some other place I would
probably be drawn to the same subject matter. 

Do
you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work
created in the States?


I
am not sure, because there is so much information coming and going
all the time that the influences cross over constantly. But I do see
that there is less of an academic influence here than in the US.
Here, still, people who want to learn photography have to figure out a way
to make it work for them, as opposed to the huge structure that the
Art Schools offer to a student in the US, where it is a safer environment (while you are enrolled). After graduation, it is a whole
different story. I think there is a lot of regurgitation going on in
the US Art Schools but I also think this is inevitable.  


What
is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported,
are galleries selling, do Photographers have an outlet to show their
work?


There
is a lot of interest in the medium, and there are great venues to
exhibit. There are also excellent teachers and very talented young
and not so young photographers. But I think the market is not very
good here. People will fill up a gallery at the opening, then
throughout the month it will be very visited, but perhaps there are
no sales. And now the dollar is crazy here so I dont know what will
happen. A lot of collectors from abroad come here to buy cheap and
good work.

Images from Stories

 I
drive to the small rural towns in the Argentine countryside to get
away from what I know. For me, being uncomfortable stimulates
creativity. When I enter unknown territory, I stop, get out, and talk
to people. I tell them I am interested in old stores, places that
still function almost in a separate time, those that remain
authentic, running on their own agendas.
 
I
want to find places that remain authentic, that are running on their
own agendas. Sometimes I think I am photographing the last rebel’s
strongholds, or artists’ studios, because these places seem to
operate by a different set of rules.  When I run out of words, I
take my folder out and show prints of previous shots I’ve taken, like
a detective sharing evidence. 
I
am looking for places like these
,
I ask while flipping through the photographs.  My project takes
on a collaborative nature because I rely on these interactions, the
people I meet point me to new locations, and that’s how I build my
itinerary.
 
Many times
I am asked ‘Why aren’t there any people in your photographs?’ 
My answer
is ‘Look closely, they are all over the place.’
 
My
photographs are filled with traces of human presence: objects,
furniture, stuff hanging from the walls, accumulations on display.
They speak to me of the invisible, that which can’t be seen but is
there, stories to be imagined, and, ultimately, the acknowledgement
of our own transience in this world.



Latin American Week: Paccarik Orue

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest editor, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Estoy muy feliz de poder mostrarles mi primera selección de la semana: Paccarik Orue!

I am very excited to feature the first photographer of this Latin American series on Lenscratch. I selected two of Paccarik’s series that show how these cities in different countries try to overcome hardship to survive: There is nothing beautiful around here, photographed in Richmond, California and El Maqui, made in Cerro de Pasco, Peru.

I first saw Paccarik Orue‘s work at Carte Blanche in San Francisco. I was struck by Paccarik’s sensibility to capture things around him. He was born and raised in Lima, Peru and currently resides in San Francisco. As a photographer, he is interested in creating work that stirs emotion about his subjects and that leave the viewer with more questions than answers. He earned his BFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in 2011.

Paccarik’s work has been featured in Visura Magazine and Conscientious among others. He has exhibited at SF Camerawork and Book & Job Gallery. His book, There is nothing beautiful around here, is being published this month by Owl & Tiger and has been selected by Darius Himes and Larissa Leclair to be a part of the traveling Indie Photobook Library’s exhibition.

Image from There is nothing beautiful around here

What does your Latin heritage bring to
your work?

I was born and raised in Lima, Peru
during a terrorist crisis. I have witnessed crime, poverty and the
struggles of my family trying to make ends meet. As a Latin American
artist living in the United States, it is important for me to create
work that is true to my own values and heritage. For that reason, I
find myself photographing in places that are struggling, such as
Richmond, California and Cerro de Pasco, Peru. My heritage plays a
big role in creating my art because I myself have struggled as an
immigrant in the U.S. Thus, I seek to capture the unexpected beauty
within the struggle of these communities. The fact that I have lived
half of my life in Peru and the other half in the United States,
makes me an outsider in both places; too Peruvian in California and
too Americanized for Peru, and I like what that brings to my artistic
practice.
Do you see a difference between work
created in Latin America and work created in the States?
The Latin American region produces
strong photographic work that is similar in caliber to work produced
in the U.S., most specifically in the journalism arena. In the realm
of fine art, the works of Alejandro Chaskielberg, Alejandro Lipszyc,
Hans Stoll and Macarena Rojas, to name a few, stand out. In my
opinion, the main difference is that much less work is produced in
Latin America than in the U.S., probably as a result of lack of
resources.
What is the state of photography in
your country–is it well supported, are galleries selling, do
photographers have a way to get exposure or have ways to promote
their work?
These are very exciting times for
photography in Peru. The economic growth of the past years is
reflected in the opening of new art schools, galleries, museums,
art-book stores and photography events. One of my favorite events is
the annual fair, “Lima Foto,” hosted by the art school Centro De
La Imagen. “Lima Foto” hosts local and Latin American galleries
and it is a great place to see contemporary photography from the
region. Another exciting event that takes place in Peru is the
“Bienal De Fotografia De Lima,” which runs for a whole week and
features a photobook fair, artists’ talks, contests and displays
local work as well as international work. Perhaps the most important
initiative is the opening of FOLI, a non-profit photography museum
that aims to promote and preserve contemporary photography in South
America. FOLI also takes the initiative of bringing photography
exhibitions to the people of Lima by transforming shipping cargo
containers into mobile galleries and setting them up in different
parks and plazas throughout the city.   
Images from There is nothing beautiful around here
Richmond, California is a
place where many families are struggling with rising unemployment,
foreclosure, poverty, and the ensuing violence and substance abuse.
This situation has accentuated Richmond’s reputation for being one
of the roughest parts of the Bay Area.
However, Richmond is also a place where turkeys walk past on the sidewalks, dogs guard their owner’s properties, people ride horses in the park, and fire hydrants cool the hot afternoons. During one of my visits, a middle-aged African American woman asked me why I was taking pictures in her neighborhood. I answered that it was beautiful. She responded, “there is nothing beautiful around here.” Beauty and sorrow live side by side in Richmond. This body of work
documents this contradiction, the character of the city and the pride
of its residents.

Images from El Muqui
El Muqui is a mysterious goblin known as the owner of the Andean mines. He is a powerful tiny figure who is attentive to the miner’s ambitions and frustrations. And although he may show sympathy to some miners, he also punishes the wrongdoers. El Muqui, possesses a strong moral code and makes pacts with the people who exploit his territories. He collects what is owed to him punctually and inexorably. 
Cerro de Pasco is the highest mining city in the world and it is also one of the most polluted. The city is one of the biggest sources of income for the Peruvian government, but ironically, it has also been forgotten by its officials.
The open-pit mine is located in the middle of the city and keeps growing in diameter every year. In its expansion, the mine has devoured entire historical neighborhoods, erasing them from the map.The amount of mineral deposits is too
large for the government to stop extracting them, and the operations
are increasingly intensifying. This mine is not only erasing
Cerro de Pasco’s history, but it is also erasing the city’s
future.



TIME Style&Design: Travels Through Bhutan

When I first visited Bhutan, I was all of 7 years old. My memories from the trip are, at best, vague. I remember the long, tedious bus ride from the Indian border to Thimphu, and I have some recollection of a ceiling—possibly in a monastery—painted with dragons and other fantastic creatures. What I don’t recall at all is the astonishing natural beauty of this Himalayan paradise, the grandeur of its forts and palaces, the serene calm of its people. Such things are lost on little boys.

Happily, the best things about Bhutan have not changed a great deal since my youth. The gorgeous vistas, grand ‘dzhongs’ and graceful people were all in abundance during my visit this summer. To travel through the country, from Thimphu to Bumthang, Punakha and Paro, is to be treated to a succession of jaw-dropping panoramas of mountains, valleys and rivers, punctuated by fabulous man-made landmarks. (Yes, there are still dragons on the ceilings!)

My enjoyment of these was heightened by the knowledge that so few people get to enjoy them: Bhutan receives fewer visitors in a year than New York City, my home, gets every day! One consequence is that Bhutanese have not grown blasé of tourists: there is a genuine warmth toward, and curiosity about, visitors. Many of my interviews were topsy-turvy: I ended up being the one answering questions!

But Bhutan is not some magic land trapped in time, even though people frequently compare it with the fictional Shangri-La. It is a country evolving from a monarchy to a democracy; the first elected government is just four years old. It is also embracing, with appropriate caution, the trappings of modernity. Young people favor jeans and t-shirts over the traditional robes, the karaoke bars are full of customers belting out Bollywood numbers, and although major international retail chains are absent, one ingenious local businessman has named his grocery shop “Eight Eleven.”

Photographer Bharat Sikka captures Bhutan’s evolution in this series of images from our trip together.

Bobby Ghosh is an editor-at-large at TIME. Read his full story from Bhutan at TIME’s new Style blog.

Bharat Sikka is a Delhi-based photographer. See more of his work here.

The Gallimaufry Edition

Sarah Girner recently wrote me about a new photo zine, The Gallimaufry Edition, she has created with four photographers–“a jumbled medley of American, British, German and Iranian shooting a variety of formats and film types and styles.” The five photographers first met in New York in 2008 and have come up with an interesting idea. They have not only created a new magazine, but an exhibit to go along with it that opened yesterday at the Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn. The exhibit and zine includes pictures from Centralia, Germany, NYC, San Francisco, Tehran and Winnipeg. They hope to travel the exhibit, but also hope you consider purchasing the magazine (and they are having a Mother’s Day special)!

Along with Sarah Girner, the photographers include Sahara Marina Borja, Sunny Shokrae, Matt McDonough, and Phil Brown. As Matt McDonough puts it “It’s called Gallimaufry, meaning a hodgepodge or confused jumble of things and I have to say it looks quite gorgeous in its 64-page, full-color, perfect-bound glory.”

A sampling of images follow.

Images by Phil Brown

Images by Matt McDonough

Images by Sarah Girner

Images by Sunny Shokrae

Images by Sahara Marina Borja