Buenos Aires: Introduction

I returned from Argentina a couple days ago with the hoped-for memory card bristling with raw material. Though I’ve spent the better part of Saturday evening and Sunday editing, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve also had a chance to reflect, in conversation with the Idiot Photographer, on just what the hell I think I’m doing. So as a preamble to this series of posts on the Argentine capital, I’d like to throw out these musings to my fellow photographers out there to see if anything resonates. But let me start at the beginning.

I’m finding that photography and travel are inextricably linked in my mind. I would not be a very good studio photographer, and I’m not sure what I would do on a trip if I wasn’t shooting. That said, I don’t actually enjoy myself on these trips. While abroad (or in Detroit, Gary or wherever) I’m stressing about all the things you worry about in a foreign country: language barriers, finding my way around, not getting mugged or scammed, etc. I usually travel alone, so perhaps this aspect is more acute for me. I’m also anxious, because I need to get some good shots; if I don’t why I am even there? Of course I’m shooting the touristy stuff (would you go to Paris and not photograph the Eiffel Tower?) but I’m also trying to carve out some relatively fresh artistic ground, while keenly aware how silly it is for a non-native tourist who just drops into a city for five days to believe that he or she has captured anything of the true essence of the city. And so it is that these trips, particularly trips abroad, are mostly nerves, second guessings, and exhaustion.

First world problems, aren’t they?

But the story changes when I get back, and begin sifting through my shots. As I edit these pictures, I become proud of some of them, and in turn, my memory of the experience of those moments changes. Perhaps parenthood might be a good analogy here: parents are always proud of their children, though any given day of parenting, likely consisting of diapers, tantrums or adolescent surliness is unlikely to be rewarding in of itself. The rewards are cumulative, and beyond the quotidian trials of the experience itself. Of course, a parent probably won’t stop loving their child if they grow up to be a criminal. If I, on the other hand, was to return from a trip with nothing to show for it in the way of a good picture, I would have to ask myself, what the hell did I do all that for?

Well, that turned out a bit more like a plea for validation than I would’ve liked, but really, isn’t that kind of the point of a blog, or art in general?
With that out of the way, we can get back to Buenos Aires. Specifically, Ricoleta cemetery, where the rich and famous of Argentina have been interring their dead for nearly 200 years. It was an excuse to just go full Goth and milk these images for all the drama I could. Those with Goth allergies should moderate their visit to this site in the near future. In case of overdose, turn here for an antidote.



Ricoleta Statue With Sun


A quick P.S.- This shot was an attempt at image stacking. I was told tripods were not allowed in the cemetery, so the above is an attempt to stack in the dark sky from one exposure over the correctly exposed foreground. As the two images didn’t line up perfectly, and I’m still getting the hang of stacking, there’s a couple very obvious blurry spots where I fudged the overlay. I told IP I’d try, and post the results.I’m also a parent, and felt qualified making the parenting analogy. So there.

7 responses

  1. If the image stacking doesn’t work out for you, try +1 & -1 manual adjustment of the frame and assemble those two exposures with the original as an HDR. This works pretty well when handheld is the only option and your didn’t bracket the exposures initially. I call it faking an HDR.

    May 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

  2. Looking forward to the rest of the goth series! Have Sisters of Mercy on standby for audible accompaniment. :-D

    Hope you enjoyed the trip, sounds like we are in for some real treats in the coming weeks.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    • Sisters of Mercy? Now you’re talking. Let me turn up the goth for tonight’s post!

      May 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

  3. Great shot and your first attempt at image stacking turned out pretty damn well :-) I also agree with photography and travel, in my mind it goes hand in hand. Traveling behind a camera lets you see the area in a different light. The angle, the POV, the subject and the feeling captured all may have gone unnoticed if one was not looking. Also, I love the part when the memories return when revisiting a catalog or album. Both of your work is amazing and I enjoy your posts immensely. Thank you!

    May 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    • I appreciate that Cynthia, and thanks for the feedback!

      May 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

  4. Pingback: the idiot photographer

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