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November 1, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014

Photojournalism as a trigger of memory

Photojournalism as a visual itinerary at the Palais de Glace.
By Máximo Pereyra Iraola
For the Herald
This exhibition offers a wide, diverse array of images that elicits viewers’ reflection

Photography has always been one of the most effective triggers of memory, and the 25º Muestra Anual de Fotoperiodismo Argentino Periodo 2013 — this year’s ARGRA exhibition at the Palais de Glace — is a perfect example of this dictum.

The selection is made up of nearly 300 photographs picked from 3,000 entries. The result is a wide, diverse array of images that induces viewers to take a profound look at the events that took place during 2013.

Every year, the Asociación de Reporteros Gráficos de la República Argentina (ARGRA / Argentine Photojournalists Association), appoints a committee made up of journalism and photography professionals.

The committee selects the previous year’s most significant works by Argentine photographers. The resulting exhibition takes viewers on a visual itinerary, reminding them of events they may have forgotten about or need to see under a new light. This year’s judges were Alfredo Herms, Emiliana Miguelez, Alejandro del Bosco, Jorge Yáñez and Héctor Río.

Viewers may well wonder why none of the photographs’ labels mention the media on which they first appeared. The reason is that not every work in the exhibit was actually published. In fact, in many cases the pictures belong to freelance documentary projects.

This is a conscious aspect of the exhibit, one that challenges visitors by making them realize that some events may have been kept from them.

With this exhibit, ARGRA, in some way, honours the rebellious spirit of its first show, held in 1981, during Argentina’s last military dictatorship.

It would be wrong to assume, however, that the selection of journalism photographs shown at the 25º Muestra Anual de Fotoperiodismo Argentino Período 2013 is exclusively dedicated to political and social events.

While this is certainly the case with most works, many other pictures portray the everyday lives of citizens and townspeople, sporting events, and urban and countryside landscapes, among other subjects.

This makes for a very diverse exhibition in which photographs of the most varied events and scenarios function as a continuous flow of memory and documentation. Pictures from a Bolivian celebration, a local hooligan’s funeral, Argentine politicians, an anthropological discovery in Peru, an environmentalist protest, and the Pope’s 2013 visit to Brazil, coexist on the walls of the Palais de Glace along with images from the everyday lives of transgender people in jail, the survivors of last year’s flood in the city of La Plata and members of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in search of their missing grandchildren, just to name a few topics.

ARGRA is holding a parallel exhibit called 30 años / Periodismo en democracia, offering visitors a somewhat informal and accessible experience. Photographs are presented in a not entirely organized fashion, and the only information at the bottom of each piece is the title and the author’s name.

There is no “right” way of touring the exhibit, which makes the choice of venue a particularly smart one, as the circular architecture of the Palais de Glace allows each visitor to make their own intuitive itinerary.

An organized and detailed description of the exhibit in the form of a high-quality catalog is available to visitors interested in the technical and professional aspects of the photographs on show.

Where & When

ARGRA 25º Muestra Anual de Fotoperiodismo Argentino Período 2013. At Palais de Glace, Posadas 1725 / Av. Del Libertador 1248. Free entrance. Open Tuesdays to Fridays from 12 to 8pm, and weekends from 10 to 8pm. Exhibit ends on August 17.

@coffeemaximo
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