Sergio Larrain

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I am by no means some sort of photographic expert, but I know what I like when I see it.  The name Sergio Larrain was not on my “artistic radar” until now, thanks mainly to this new retrospective.

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I’m familiar with photography’s great street photographers: Winogrand, Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Friedlander, Brandt, etc.  There’s a similar magic at work in Larrain’s images.  He’s both compositionally interesting as well visually humane.  It’s also worth noting that these images cover a wide range of Europe, so we can’t blame it all on location.

His images of kids, birds, dogs and people resonate deeply nearly 50 years after they were taken.   The subjects seem to be showing their pride in living through the angry chaos of the world.

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Larrain was “discovered” by Cartier-Bresson, and later joined his Magnum group.  His body of work only encompassed a 15-year timeframe.  He retreated into the Chilean countryside because (as author Richard Conway describes):

“He stopped his career. It was not bringing him what he [thought] it would bring to him,” explains Sire. “[He felt] the fact he photographed those kids will not change the fact that there will always be kids abandoned. Photography will not help save the planet.”

I think I’m drawn to artists that are a little under-valued.  Perhaps it’s the fact that the world isn’t constantly screaming their name for recognition.  Things stick with you longer when you have to dig for them…

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“A good image is created by a state of grace. Grace expresses itself when it has been freed from conventions, free like a child in his early discovery of the reality. The game is then to organize the rectangle. ” – Sergio Larrain
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One Response to Sergio Larrain

  1. Pingback: SquarePop | Too cool to be cool

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