I recently chatted with Pablo Cainero, an Argentinian photographer whose work I’ve been following after seeing his evocative street portraits and scenes taken around Santa FE.
Hi Pablo, can you please tell me a little about yourself?
I’m from Santa Fe, a province in Argentina. I was born, live and work in San José del Rincón, a small coastal city of that province. I studied at art school and work as an art teacher, as well as in a ceramics workshop.
How did you develop an interest in photography?
I think I became interested in photography when I was an art school student. With my peers, we’d go to different exhibitions of painting and sculpture but I was more attracted to photography. I felt that stories could be made using that medium but I mainly used it as a graphic resource for my illustration work (textures or objects that I then combined digitally). Taking photography classes as an optional workshop of the art school was a good technical and theoretical support on this medium. The photography teacher offered us readings of texts by Susan Sontag and Walter Benjamin and thus expanded our understanding of photography.
One day, in a store, I found a small picture book called The Bridges of Madison County. At that moment I discovered the poetic side of photography because together with the photos there are fragments of phrases, like short reflections. That little book helped me understand the intimate strength of photography.
In addition, an excellent local photographer called Federico Inchauspe used to recommend me the work of other photographers, like Robert Frank, but I am also inspired by movies and music. In this way, I discovered and appreciated photography more and more.
What cameras do you prefer to use?
I prefer to use compact cameras. I feel more comfortable with this equipment and also think they’re less invasive when taking pictures in the street or photographing people in different situations.
In the street, I commonly use a Pentax Q, a very small mirrorless camera but I usually also carry a point and shoot analog camera. I almost always use a wide angle lens, which allows me to get close and capture much of the scene. I don’t carry more than two cameras in my bag when outside but this does depend on the situation. For example, at some night events I use DSLR cameras with fixed focal lights and 35mm or 50mm lenses.
Do you have a favourite photographer or artist whose work you admire?
Yes, there are several. I could mention some classics like Garry Winogrand, Weegee, Josef Koudelka and other great artists but I feel a deep respect for the work of the photographers I know here, in my town and the city, especially Federico Inchauspe, Gastón Cerbino and Esteban Courtalon. Maybe the reason I feel influenced by these photographers is because they took as one of their themes the coast of Santa Fe, with its natural and idiosyncratic features.
I don’t know if it’s possible to get to know people through their work (I even think that it is not necessary to know the person) but I do consider direct communication and the exchange of ideas fundamental to learning. In my case, photography is a hobby and an exciting path. It’s not my goal to earn money or build a career. Few things give me as much pleasure as going out and connecting with the world through a camera, then going home to see what I’ve found. There are days with more or less luck, though I usually file those photos, then I go back after a while to review them and end up seeing them differently.
For anyone interested in seeing more of Pablo’s work, go check out his Flickr.