Alejandro Chaskielberg (b. 1977) is Director of Photography from the Argentina's National Film and Audiovisual Art Institute. He began his career as a photojournalist, working in local newspapers and magazines but soon realized he wanted to showcase images not possible within the media. After stint as musician, he started doing documentaries for television.
Since 2006 Alejandro devotes his time to his personal projects. His work has been exhibited at the New York Photo Festival and the Brighton Biennial. He also exhibited at the photo festivals Paraty en Foco (Brazil) and El Ojo Salvaje (Paraguay). His latest exhibition in 2012 was hold at the Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo
Alejandro is the winner of the 2011 L'Iris d'Or at the Sony World Photo Awards. Also in 2011 he received the POYI - Latin America Pictures of the Year as the best Latin American Portrait. In 2009 he was the recipient of the BURN online magazine Emerging Photographer Grant. He also won the Talent Latent Award as part of Spain's SCAN'09 Festival, as well as the Leopold Godowsky Jr. Award from the Boston University. He was named as one of PDN magazine's 30 New and emerging photographers to watch. In 2008 he was invited to participate in the National Geographic All Roads Photography Program.
My appetite to see and discover new work is insatiable, so when Marcelo Brodsky suggested that I meet some young Argentine photographers, when I was considering who to show at the Brighton Photo Biennial for 2010, I jumped at this opportunity.
By the time I had seen the third image in Chaskielberg's folio I was convinced this was a major new photographer. I had never seen any images like this before and few with such maturity from a new photographer.
On one level his work is documents a rural community living on the banks of the Parana River delta. But there is so much more than this. All taken during the full moon, his photos are a virtuoso exploration of how flash, torches, moonlight and posed portraits all fuse together in a seamless manner. The photographer has combined subject and methodology so convincingly that you know he has resolved this brilliantly. So much so, you hardly notice the thin line between subject and style.
When I first saw his work, he had already a good year of shooting behind him but I was convinced he needed to return to fully realise the potential of this project. So he returned to the area from mid 2009 to mid 2010 to consolidate his exploration and documentation.
Every photograph is carefully researched and rehearsed. As each one needs to have the backdrop of the full moon as an essential ingredient, the window for shooting is no more than three clear nights. The subjects, being hard working foresters, are usually tucked up in bed by 9pm, have to be persuaded to stay up late and sit for many minutes while the long exposures are made. The fact he stayed in this community was an obvious advantage. All the subjects knew his project and were willing sitters. The image featured on page xx is remarkable as this was the first time one itinerant Paraguayan worker had ever seen a photo of himself.
The documentary value of these images is the real bonus. If we did not know who they were, or indeed where they were taken, these images would still delight the eye.
I think a key element of this work is the fact that Chaskielberg was previously a director of photography in the film world. The rigour of setting up artificial lighting, staging and making the framework - all contribute the essential elements to this project.
This remarkable body of work ticks all the boxes. It is art, it is stylistically innovative, it documents a fragile community, and it helps to give substance to the new emerging photographic culture to be found in Argentina.
Martin Parr Feb 2011