I used to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This huge city has a crazy nightlife and a young vibrant community of self-made, self-taught ‘anything’. In spite of the economical constraints and political clashes, people try hard to find not just profit, but also purpose.
Art as all art, photography provides a sense of relief, exploration and expression. It was in this context that I made my first attempt to purchase the MEIKAI EL. As there is no international retailer and importing goods from the rest of the world proves unattainable, I bought the good to a professor, merely to socialise and exchange views, attracted by the low price tag. The decisive encounter took place at an address unfamiliar to me and as usual, I had carefully investigated how to combine commute in order to avoid risky areas.
I knew that city like the back of my hand but little did I know, that at the address lied a small old-fashioned bar, the bar of the museum of photography. An unassuming one, full of old cameras, like a market fair. Each of them had a story. I was astonished, I have never seen such a collection. The professor who later on became my mentor, explained that he was part of an odd group of friends, all pinhole amateurs. I did not know what that meant. He showed me some images, then some home-made cans and weird artifacts. He was in his 70s, that has been and still is his passion. We talked a lot. I learnt more in that afternoon than in many books. He handed me the camera, did not want any money. He said, ‘this is not just a camera, it is how you let the world in’.
I took part of the photo reunions of his group ever since.
The photo reunions were in parks, full of moments for rest, observation, tips and delicious hand-made pastries. Negative images were scanned in the back of his fully light-proofed van. The wait, the warming up the papers and rolls, and liquids. The wait was a cure for anxiety.
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When I took these photos, a warm February day in the southern hemisphere, I was walking around ‘La Boca neighbourhood with the professor. I wanted to capture the river, the colours of the first migrant’s houses. I was carried away by the ever-present tango songs.
But as of the camera matters, I was not an expert, I could not advance the film properly, I did not know what the viewfinder would frame. I went home thinking that I had messed up my first colour film. I wanted to give it up altogether and resort to my hole-in-the-box-world.
Unaware, when scanning the negatives I saw I had made some accidental double exposures. I used them for an exhibition afterward. I kept trying and until this day I never let go.
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