Each year ARGRA, Argentine Association of Graphic Reporters, showcases the year in photos. The exhibit is held at Palais De Glace, a palatial exhibition centre dedicated to the arts. This year, The 27th Annual Sample of Argentine Photojournalism is located on the top floor of this beautiful building.
Inside, the main hall is a giant dome with an interior that is covered with magnificent stone artwork and detailing. The centre is hollow and looks down upon the Japanese Calligraphy exhibit on the lower floor.
This central dome is where the photojournalism retrospective is on show. Between each stone arch is a giant photo on a canvas. The annual review covers all different subjects, so every photography connoisseur will be pleased. You can feast your eyes on Plaza De Mayo from above, indigenous communities in the mountains, kids playing at sunset or the men of the moment, Lionel Messi and Mauricio Macri.
Around the outside are well-lit corridors displaying a selection of images from a different theme. The photography ranges in size, focus and colour, showcasing that each photographer will see each situation differently.
First up is politics. Macri takes centre stage here as the cameras followed his successful presidential campaign. Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner waves goodbye to the crowds and people cry out in joy during her dramatic farewell speech in Plaza de Mayo. Lighter moments are also captured: there is the comedic yet powerful photo of Macri and his wife kissing on stage at the end of the presidential debate, his soon-to-be defeated rival Daniel Scioli watching alone.
Sport follows, with a focus on a national team that has dominated the football world without clinching any titles. A World Cup final, and two Copa America finals, all lost. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and this section includes fantastic portraits of Argentine sport stars living these moments. Messi sends a bicycle kick into the goal, River Plate teammates cry with joy, Ezequiel Lavezzi screams.
The special gallery “76.16 – 40 Years, Never Again” reconstructs the years of the military dictatorship. It portrays moments of everyday life, as well as reflecting on repression, marches, kidnappings on public roads, the Falklands/Malvinas war and the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo pleading for their missing children. All the photos are in black and white and it has a somber vibe compared to the rest of the exhibit.
For any lover of photography this exhibit is superb. There is a great range of photography and although there are some well-known photos, it’s the contrast between indigenous and contemporary photography that really captures attention. It’s often forgotten that living in the countryside are indigenous people with deep cultural roots. To take a glimpse of their festivals and traditions is refreshing. Compare that to life in a metropolitan city and it is shows that there really is no typical Argentine life.
It is not a huge exhibit, and it is definitely worthwhile to take an hour or two to admire the best of Argentine photojournalism.
ARGRA’s Annual Photojournalism exhibit (covering 2015) runs from 12 July until 15 August at the Palais de Glace on Posadas 1725. Tuesday-Friday, 12-8pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-8pm. Entry is free.