Saturday, 16 April 2011
Fur Voice "Coming Home" long awaited music video will be released any time as part of his strangely beautiful "Onto Endo" Album.
Shot in Argentina last September and in the works since then, the time has come for it at last.
Here is my personal tribute to him. These shots were taken during my last visit to Barcelona. Please be alert as he will be posting the video any moment!
Monday, 14 March 2011
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
I'd like to avoid an ending to this travel photo-story by coming back to where I begun with a personal note on anticipation.
Here in this picture I decided to photograph the house of a man who I saw day after day seating outside his house, Mate on hand, listening to the radio and looking at the "road" in front of him, waiting for something, waiting for someone to walk by, some car to drive pass, something to happen.
Esteros del Iberá, Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, is possibly the quietest town I have ever been to. Only reachable through hours of dirt track and only when it doesn't rain, it is the home of 300 bird species and the one and only bar. There I found a feeling of unprecedented freedom as I walked around town. Suffice to say that not many cars did actually go by this house at all.
To anticipate seems necessary to plan ahead, to protect oneself from future danger, or to positively think of the future. However I feel sometimes we live in anticipation, dedicating most of our days to predict what will happen next, worrying about our future, or purely dreaming and fantasizing about it, so by the time the car does go by we are not ready to enjoy the view, to talk to the driver, or to simply be able to say "I saw it pass".
Anticipation seems somehow to be opposed to surprise and as such I do try to resist its temptations. I have always been concerned with the way we seem to be always waiting for definite things to happen, as if we were slaves to preconceptions and easy judgments. As a documentary cinematographer I am used to wait for those "decisive" moments to happen. You visit a place, you meet its people, you visit and revisit and you wait and wait because you know where and when to wait for things to happen. I sometimes will spend long hours purely observing what's around me, seeing it change, seeing "change", looking for the unknown, with utmost belief in reality's ability to surprise me.
So, when I look back at this picture, at times I think of the man behind the curtain as someone less dependant on a definite future, someone who is purely freer to sit back and watch the world go by. Someone who's main anticipation is his faith that something, not a car, not the usual face but something new, perhaps just a small detail but nevertheless new, is out there, right in front of us. Someone whose life is not about waiting or worrying about things that are just about to begin. Someone who rather spends his life vibrantly enjoying his pursue of the unknown.
Monday, 31 January 2011
Independencia: spanish for Independence, a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory.
Autonomy (in slight contrast) refers to a kind of independence which has been granted by an overseeing authority that itself still retains ultimate authority over that territory (see Devolution). A protectorate refers to an autonomous region that depends upon a larger government for its protection as an autonomous region. The dates of established independence (or, less commonly, the commencement of revolution), are typically celebrated as a national holiday known as an independence day.
Causes for a country or province wishing to seek independence are many. Disillusionment rising from the establishment is a cause widely used in separatist movements, but it is usually severe economic difficulties that trigger these groups into action.
Independencia has also been the name for many ships. The Chilean corvette Independencia (1818), the Argentine coastal ship Independencia (1891), the 1958 Argentine aircraft carrier Independencia, the 1894 San Domingan gunboat as well as the 1865 Peruvian ironclad, wrecked and blew up in 1879 during the War of the Pacific, or the 1874 Mexican gunboat Independencia.
Independence is also referred to in psychological and emotional terms. Some see it as sign of maturity, of thinking for one self without subordinating one's thoughts and actions to those imposed by society's dominant discourses. Some other people see it as a fortress where one becomes isolated from his or her surroundings. This is because independence means a primary focus on one's own evaluations rather than the evaluations of others, it implies: a primary focus on reality and of one's honest evaluations of reality. So, to be independent is to proceed neither by the incorrect evaluations of others, nor by one's own arbitrary evaluations.
The top shot was taken in the town of Humahuaca in the northwest of Argentina. It is a largely indigenous andean town close to the Bolivian border. Here a large number of kids look at a stage as they wait for a community clown show to start. Behind them, their monumento a la independencia.
The bottom one was captured at Independencia subte station, a central stop in the Buenos Aires' underground system.
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Laguna Miscanti is a brackish water lake located at 4,200 meters of altitude in the antiplano of the Antofagasto Region, in northern Chile. Miñiques volcano, on the left, and the Cerro Miscanti, on the right, can be found just behind it. The western shoreline of the lake is separated by less than one kilometre from the drainage divide between the lake and the Salar de Atacama basins. The lake is part of one of the seven sectors of Los Flamencos Natural Reserve.
From here the water collected from the falling raindrops and the melting of the ice peaks gets filtered down the mountain through rivers flowing under the ground. Above the ground the temperatures are high and the humidity is practically absent. This water, full of salt and volcanic minerals, will only resurface from holes found more than one kilometer below our feet, onto other salt lakes found at the Salar de Atacama.
There, under one of the most arid climates in the planet, the water simply evaporates. To my surprise, it does not only leave behind traces of the obvious product, rock salt. The Salar de Atacama is also, together with the neighbouring Salar de Uyuni, the world's major producer of Lithium.
Lithium is the organic representation of emotional stability. I only found out about the properties of Lithium when I was a kid because back then my mother and I shared a house for a while with my aunt, who suffered from schizophrenia. I was told her ocasional passages of delirium were caused by a lack of lithium in her organism. And here I was, in front of the mother of all the lithium tablets consumed and quite often avoided by many.
According to modern cosmological theory, lithium—as both of its stable isotopes lithium-6 and lithium-7—was among the 3 elements synthesize in the Big Bang and is believed to have been formed when the universe was between 100 and 300 seconds old. Lithium seems to me as intrinsic to our nature as water. One could ask how is it possible that the key to our physical emotional stability is so closely related to the physics of our world? However my question remains one less mystical and much more down to earth, what do we do when we stand in front of it?
Thursday, 27 January 2011
These are extremely large found objects. The road mirror must be around ten meters in width while the abandoned rails were probably six meters in length each. Their surrounding landscapes are so incredibly vast that they render them almost maleable. And yet I found them to have a special sense of belonging.
I first stumble upon the mirror while we were driving from Cafayate to Cachi on the famous Ruta-40, a dirt track that took us 5 hours to complete. There are very few towns in the way and I think we only crossed two cars on this day.
And there it was on one of the many curves that we passed by. Its angled shape seemed to mirror the mountains in its backdrop. However, what really attracted me was the fact that if you were to stand right in front of it you would not be able to see yourself. Instead, you could only see and feel the vast surrounding landscape.
The truth, I guess, is that this mirror was not designed to be a reflection of oneself but a means of communication between those people driving on the road at night, a means for an encounter, and what an encounter I should add. There were no lamp posts or anything of the kind. I could not think of a good enough reason to be driving through that road in the middle of the night. I could only imagine the effect of the car lights as they approached the curve and their reflection on the other side of the road, on the other approaching car and its driver, surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of utter darkness.
Unfortunately, as we were yet to see a single car crossing our way we did not stay to see what such a dramatic play of light and shadows would look like. I could only visualize it and play with it in my mind with delight. In the absence of darkness and cars, there and then in the daylight, this mirror had lost its original function to become an extremely large and industrial object of rather strange beauty. One could say it looked almost out of place and yet everything about it was place.
One week later I saw these abandoned tracks as we were on board of a disused train line designed by Eiffel. It had been turned into some sort of train engineering tourist attraction. Its original function was to communicate the city of Salta with the impossibly high town of San Antonio de los Cobres where the copper mines are situated. The sparse landscape gave us an idea of the little sense it made we were there at the time. However, these enormous oxidized tracks, strangely lined up pointing towards another dirt road in the horizon, belonged there. Removed of their original function and isolated from the track we were onto they reclaimed their role in the surrounding landscape. Once again I had this feeling that these objects looked almost out of place while everything about them was place.
It has made me think that sometimes a certain degree of displacement it's necessary if one is ever to encounter its place in the world.