From the agency photographer to the reader
From the agency photographer, creator of the “raw material“, to the reader, consumer of and hiper- produced product: It’s been almost 17 years since he works Latin America and the Caribean for the desk of one of the biggest news agencies in the world, AFP. In the editing team we receive and edit hundreds of photos produced by my fellow regional colleagues at the field each day.
Part of my work consists in also administrating, animating the photographic webpage destined to the hundreds of AFP’s clients, prioritizing every aspect of the world news that composes all of the “photographic universe“ of an agency“: raw news, deeper reportage, finance, celebrities, etc.
I look and observe thousands of photos a day, with a keen photojournalistic vision, following permanently the flow of national and international news. When the collegue photographers form Europe and Africa go to sleep the ones in America wake up. When the Latin Americans are dinning, the Asians are having breakfast and making themselves ready for their photographic day. This kind of agencies are a world machinery that produces thousands of photographs 24 hours a day.
But, Which are the pictures that go to the reader?
- An agency’s’ photographic production is tensed constantly by three main things that form a kind of triangle between them when their vertex meet:
1st Vertex: The photographer in the field creating the “raw material“.
2nd Vertex: The editing tables that select, retouch and add text /IPCT to the images if necessary (Paris, Washington, Nicosia, Hong Kong and Montevideo at AFP)
3rd Vertex: Clients, who receive and do or don’t publish what has been produced by the agencies.
This tensions condition the quality and content of the photographs that the clients se in the end, as well as the readers and image spectators. This talk will mainly deal with the “1st Vertex: The photographer“ and his relation with the other two vertex of the triangle: on the one hand the editors, the “intermediaries“ and on the other hand the clients with their content “demands“ (ideological transmitters)
Born in Montevideo in 1952. In 1974 he took refuge in Geneva, Switzerland, where he finished his studies in Graphic Arts, in the field of photography, and later began his professional career as graphic designer first and then as a photographer for various international organizations (UN, OMS, OIT, CMI, etc.). Made his first photojournalism reportage in Mexico and later in Nicaragua (1982). He worked in this country ‘til 1986 for the French agency Sipa Press, the Ministry of Education and the agency Nueva Nicaragua, as the photography department director. In 1984 he was invited to Canada to make a tour along with the Canadian photographer Deborah Barndt and the exhibition “Testimonios de Nicaragua“ (Nicaraguan Testimonies). This show lasted 3 months and was exhibited in 15 different cities, from coast to coast, in Canada; at the same time he gave several workshops about the methodology of popular communication. He returned to Urugay in 1986 and associated with the photographic agency Prisma, making coverage of Brazil, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Uruguay. He also worked in several photographic documentations on housing and urban development for the Municipality of Montevideo, until 1999. Between 1992 and 1994 he produced three major coverage in Bolivia for the Swiss Cooperation for Development (COSUDE). In 1997 does a photo reportage in the province of Neuquen, Argentina, about life and the development of local projects linked to the Mapuche Indians. In 1997 he also participated as a photographer for the production of the book and exhibition "7 fotógrafos X Montevideo" (7 Photograpers Through Montevideo) supported by the Municipality. From 1994 to 2007 he taught photojournalism in a workshop at the Foto Club Uruguayo. In early 1999 he carried out photographic documentation in Nicaragua and El Salvador for the Swiss NGO GVOM, about the reconstruction of these countries after Hurricane Mitch. From this work comes out an edited book "Souvenirs du Présent" (Memories of the Present), and a traveling exhibition for Switzerland and France, shown already in 15 cities. In 2004 he performed, in Cuba, a coverage commissioned by the Swiss Cooperation for Development (COSUDE). This production is to broadcast the work, done by COSUDE along with State Organizations and Cuban NGOs, through publications and exhibitions in Cuba and Switzerland. Since 1999 he works as a photo editor, as well as a photographer in Latin American Desk of Agence France Presse (AFP) in Montevideo. In 2009 he teaches at the Tris Photo School in Montevideo, coordinating a multimedia photography workshop, "Moving Pictures".
He has exhibited in Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Cuba, United States, France, Switzerland and Uruguay. As a freelance photographer he has published material in several of international and national press media.