La CrecienteAlejandro Chaskielberg(Nazraeli Press, 2011 )
Intrigued by memories of a childhood vacation, Argentinean-born photographer Alejandro Chaskielbergfelt felt compelled to explore the enigmatic and isolated lives of the inhabitants of the Paraná River Delta, near Buenos Aires. Chaskielberg describes this mystical and remote watery landscape as “an estuary of water and silence; at dawn, one sinks into its fog and its unrelenting vegetation.”
Living amongst the islands of this Argentinean estuary for three years (2007-10), Alejandro Chaskielberg would observe the community’s daily rituals, and then, only under the dramatic illumination of a full-moon, would reconstruct, rehearse and restage these scenarios, using an indigenous cast of hunters, fisherman, farmers and lumberjacks. “I think of my pictures as slides of unfinished stories, having a script on my head. The images are carefully planned after days of observation, and they only have a body when the large-format camera initiates the slow subordination of the capture. It will take from five to ten minutes until this thick darkness sprouts what was secret.”
These elaborate nocturnal set pieces are by no means a traditional documentary approach. Chaskielberg relies heavily on the technique of his craft, creatively weaving available and artificial lighting sources in the frames of his extended exposures. In the accompanying essay, Martin Parr notes Chaskielberg’s ability to “combine subject and methodology so convincingly that you hardly notice the thin line between subject and style. It is a brilliant resolution.”
The surreal and striking cinematic quality of Chaskielberg’s images not only reveals the delicate culture of the Paraná River Delta, but also intelligently blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. La Creciente is a provocative body of work from a wonderfully innovative storyteller.