Artist’s Statement: Alejandro Chaskielberg at the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010

Alejandro Chaskielberg interviewed by Mark Sheerin | 30 September 2010
A man sits on a tree in the forest next to a large format camera on a tripod
Alejandro Chaskielberg in the field© Alejandro Chaskielberg
Artist’s Statement: In his own words…Alejandro Chaskielberg talks about shooting at night and his image The Hunter (2010), which goes on show in A Night In Argentina at Brighton University during the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010.

"Ok, every image has a different story, a different backstory, because my work consists basically of making contact with people. The man in this photograph is a hunter of capybara, who I found after sailing two hours from my house. I have been living nearby on an island. So I found this man that lives very far from the city.

The Paraná is one of the major rivers in South America. It runs through three different countries - Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Then it forms a delta. The place is very close to Buenos Aires, the capital city. There, it splits into several arms and creates a lot of islands, hundreds of islands and wetlands too.

You know, the region used to be one of the major fruit producers of Argentina in the beginning of the 20th century. But after some big floods all the people left the islands, so there are very, very big areas of the delta that are uninhabited. It was interesting for me to work in this region where I could find people who still live or hunt there, like this guy. It's a very inhospitable place.

I met the people randomly, you know. I used to be sailing the rivers with a small boat. The people there used to say hello to every boat which sailed past. From the way they said hello to me, if sometimes they were more enthusiastic, that's when I stopped the boat and started talking and that's how I started a conversation with them.

So when I saw this man he was at the shore and the name of the river is Barça Grande. It's the name of the river where he lives and he was with maybe 10 to 15 small dogs, because he hunts with dogs. We started talking and he tells me he was a hunter. I showed the images I had already taken and after two or three visits I managed to convince him to do this image.

This image was taken in the night, at maybe 12am, and we set up two different shots with this man. I visited him two or three times before we set the date to do the shoot, and we set the image for the same date he hunted this capybara. So we set up the image at midnight and he was cooking some food in the background, so you can see the fire in the background. It is a five minute-long exposure with a four by five large format camera with positive film.

Before this series, this High Tide series, I was experimenting with moonlight shots with a digital camera. The previous work was fictional. I used to do my work with friends and people I met randomly. Then when I decided to start this project I started to shoot landscapes with the moonlight, landscapes of the delta because this place is very close to Buenos Aires, where I live.

So for me it was a consequence of experimentation to shoot at night. I was experimenting and I liked the way the images looked. So when I started to work on this particular series all of this made sense because I was working with the moon and the moon affects the water of this place, so it was a natural consequence to continue working at night, even with people."

Logo for the Brighton Photo Biennial
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Our preview of the Brighton Photo Fringe
Five to see at the Fringe: Part One
Behind the Scenes: Three Views of Brighton
John Deakin's Gods and Monsters in Chichester
Laura Burgess on the education programme
"Cutting edge" programme announced for 2010
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