Champion Photobooks

Alejandro Chaskielberg’s Ōtsuchi Future Memories

Otsuchi ́s firefighters sitting where the fire station once stood, destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, Otsuchi town, Japan.

Otsuchi ́s firefighters sitting where the fire station once stood, destroyed by the 2011 tsunami, Otsuchi town, Japan. © Alejandro Chaskielberg

“Very few projects I’ve seen lately manage to marry concept and medium in such a startling way. Perhaps it was coincidence, but I think a work so thoroughly calculated like the one of Alejandro Chaskielberg would leave very little to chance. Even from La Creciente –Chaskielberg’s first book-, where he started experimenting with a combination of long exposures and flash lights under the cold light of the moon, one could feel the start of a longer, more ambitious search. But I think it’s here, literally at the other side of the world from his home country Argentina, that the pieces finally begin to fall into place, flawlessly, as if his presence in Japan had been long awaited.” Read more on the photobookstore blog.


On Contemporary Latin American Photobooks

“Last year I was pleasantly surprised to find a growing presence of Latin American photobooks and photobook publishers at the book section of Paris Photo and its neighbour book fair, Offprint. It was about time the European photobook scene got interested in books and artists from Latin America, as it is a great opportunity to engage with such a vast continent and all its complexity and contradictions.

I set myself the task to write a short introduction and recommendation to some of the Latin American photobooks I deem essential or interesting, and are currently available on bookstores and photo fairs in Europe. The list, by no means complete or exhaustive, was compiled during last year, wondering around the photobook sections of fairs and festivals.

A necessary start is Horacio Fernandez’ The Latin American Photobook. It is a really well researched and edited compilation, with the distinctive stamp of art director and photobook expert Ramón Reverté. It is mainly focused at photobooks published during the second half of the 20th century, only dealing very superficially with contemporary production. Still, it is a seminal publication, as it provides a very solid understanding of the political and social contexts behind contemporary Latin American photography and photobooks.

One thing I continuously look for in contemporary Latin American photography, and especially in photobooks is a Genius Loci; an elusive spirit of place which is summoned by experience, action and especially by memory. With this interest in mind –a longing, perhaps, for my own Latin American roots- I set out on a journey across mountains of photobooks, a sight that’s becoming commonplace in photo fairs and festivals.

One of my most recent finds was Alejandro Cartagena’s Carpoolers. It is a brilliant take on the no man’s land between México and the US, where thousands of travelling workers spend their days on the bed of a pickup truck back and forth to long days of manual work. There is a string of humour in the way he portrays these migrant workers, as sense of absurdity, but also of respect and admiration. It is a true testament to lives spent on the go and the resilience of his particular sitters.

I saw Cartagena’s book in Paris Photo, at the stand of a young publishing house, Estudio Madalena, from Brazil. It was very interesting to find them in Paris and it was very encouraging to find that they were doing very well. Thinking about the spirit of place, Estudio Madalena launched Claudia Jaguaribe’s latest publication –the second on a series about São Paulo- entitled Entrevistas. Both books,Sobre São Paulo and Entrevistas, make for an in-depth visual study of life in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is a very rigorous and heartfelt account of life stories, seen from both the outside and also the inside of São Paulo’s distinctive architecture.

Jumping to the far south of Latin America, last year I found Argentinian artist Marcelo Brodsky’s Tiempo de Arbol (Tree Time). This small book was perhaps one of my best finds of the year. It is a very heartfelt confluence of place and memory. Through it pages we follow Brodsky’s stream of consciousness, a journey between current observations and memory, dealing with the violent years of the Argentinian dictatorship and the loss of family and friends to the regime.

Another book that caught my attention was Argentinian photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg’s La Creciente, launched in 2013 but only now getting the exposure it deserves. This is a book that also deals with the spirit of place, in this instance his native Argentina. The mysterious moonlit images, and the particular use of colour and selective depth of field make Chaskielberg’s work easily recognisable. I suggest you keep an eye on him, as his latest book Otsuchi Memories just won the RM5 Iberico-American Photobook contest juried by Horacio Fernandez, Martin Parr and Alec Soth amongst other luminaries.

This is a very exciting moment for photography and photobooks, and I am excited to see what will come next from artists and publishing houses from Latin America. It is still a very timid approach in Europe, but a strong start for an ambitious future.”

Read the complete article on Photobookstore>

Marcelo Brodsky – Tree Time

“A photograph of the author staring at a tree triggers a flow of images, a chain of interlaced memories. That time when he was exiled away from his natal Argentina. That other time when he climbed really high up a tree with his brother when they were children. And that time when they played dead. In this book, trees are trusted keepers of secrets, stern observers of life. Tree Time invites us to think about a time beyond our grasp, a longer existence where we ourselves will become someone else’s memory”. Read more on Photobookstore>

Review of Marcelo Brodsky’s Tree Time for Photobookstore

MiniClick talk with Kate Peters


Had a great time talking to Kate Peters at the MiniClicks Talk in Brighton. Great bunch of people, really nice atmosphere.

From the Miniclicks website:

“We’ve been following Kate Peters for a while now, since her excellent project Yes, Mistress series and we’re delighted to announce she will be coming to do a talk for us later in July. Kate will be in discussion with art historian and curator, Rodrigo Orrantia.

Tuesday, July 29th. Doors at 6:30pm, talk starts at 7pm. Free Entry at EMPORIUM, Brighton. Free Entry.”


More at:

Sotheby’s Institute 45th Anniversary

I was invited by Sotheby’s Institute to talk about my experience on the MA Photography: Contemporary & Historical  a few years ago. This video is part of a series of interviews with industry experts and former lecturers, to celebrate the Institute’s 45th anniversary. They are all online, and can be accessed via this bespoke website:

Rodrigo Orrantia from Sotheby’s Institute of Art on Vimeo.

Encontros da Imagem – Emergentes DST Award

I am proud to be part of the reviewers for this year’s Encontros da Imagem – Emergentes DST Award


The International Photography award EMERGENTES dst is an initiative by Domingos da Silva Teixeira group, organised by the Festival ENCONTROS DA IMAGEM, with a prize money of 7500€ that will be granted to the best 2014 Contemporary Photography Portfolio. The Prize will be awarded after the Portfolio Review (September 17 / 18) which shall give photographers the opportunity to show their work to commissioners, gallery owners and expert editors, thus establishing solid foundations for the promotion of their work. The Festival ENCONTROS DA IMAGEM invites authors to apply to the EMERGENTES dst Award.

The winner will be announced at formal ceremony on September 20, at Theatro Circo in Braga, where the entitled Prize will be handed out and during which a presentation of the portfolios of the finalists shall also take place. The exhibition of the awarded author´s works shall be on display at the official section of ENCONTROS DA IMAGEM 2015.


Photolucida Critical Mass 2014

This is my second year as juror for Photolucida’s Critical Mass Award, part one of the best jury lists for photography ever assembled, take a look here for the complete list. There’s still time to register for the competition, find the link below:

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Registration is now open for Photolucida’s Critical Mass competition! Awards include a monograph prize, a solo exhibition at Blue Sky Gallery, a group exhibition at the GuatePhoto International Photography Festival, and a prestigious four-week artist’s residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Captiva Island estate. The registration deadline is July 16th!

Photolucida Critical Mass 2014

‘A Fuego’ Finalist for Curate Award

I was thrilled to find out the project I sent last December for Fondazione Prada and QMA‘s Curate Award, was shortlisted for the award from more than 500 entries.

A Fuego – Exhibition Idea for Curate Award by Rodrigo Orrantia from Rodrigo Orrantia on Vimeo.

‘A Fuego’ is an idea I took from Latin American street slang. I think the true role of a curator is that of a catalyst. Rather than selecting existing works, I propose to commission exciting collaborative projects between different of the best street artists in Latin America, be them graffiti painters, sculptors (and here we have to think about artists that modify cars and trucks to equip them with speakers, in the tradition of the Jamaican Sound Systems), animators working with video and digital mapping, and also musicians, DJs, VJs(video jockeys), photographers, fashion designers, architects and writers. Featured in the application video are StinkFish, Curiot, Gualicho, The Piztola Collective, Gentuza Collective, Knit Photo, the Huichol Artisans and VJ Suave. Also featured is Italian artist Blu and French-Tunisian Arabic Calligrapher and street artist El Seed.

This is the short intro they published for my project on the Curate site, and a link to some press images:

A Fuego: The title of the exhibition derives from the street slang that started to spread in South America in the 90’s and aims to convey the idea of a boundless sense of brotherhood capable of uniting an entire continent using mass media communication tools.

A Fuego is an itinerant event that hosts multimedia projects, performances and collaborations among various South American street artists (musicians, DJs, photographers, architects, fashion designers and graffiti artists) that use different techniques and styles. A special playlist, created by both Latin American and European musicians, will be played out by a mobile sound-system during the exhibition.”

Feel free to give it a look and tell me what you think!