November 7, 2008
I am not particularly a fan of the genre of photography that covers abandoned buildings or of the subgenre that covers abandoned amusement parks. Photographers are drawn to these places (myself included) because of the easy analogy to death and the perverse beauty of decay. Like many subjects imbued with easy emotional shorthand (unmade beds, grandparent's houses, strangers staring into the middle distance, gas stations at night, etc) the very attraction of hordes of photographers to abandoned theme parks turn most images of these things into tired clichés. But of course the thing about clichés is that they are also challenges. A good artists will take a cliché and turn it on it's head, or they will take an image so iconic that it becomes the defining image of the genre, or they will find subject matter so extreme in it's beauty that it forces us to consider it outside the context of the banal stream of other similar less beautiful images.
Argentinean photographer Pablo Cabado's 37*57'35"S 57*34'47"W is one of those projects that breaks from the pack. It's not just a bunch of pictures of a beautiful old abandoned amusement park, it's a self contained world gone topsy turvy. Large pigs roam the amusement park grounds only to be butchered by a band of rough looking men one would never like to encounter after dark. It's dark and heady stuff.
Also check out Cabado's much praised book, Cuba the 90s (Coleccion La Vista Gorda).
As a side note Cabado's bio notes he drives a 1971 Ford Falcon and anyone who drives a 71 Falcon is cool with me.