November 7, 2008

Pablo Cabado

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.

posted at 03:06 AM by raul

Filed under: photographers

TAGS: Argentinean photography (1) pigs (1) roller coasters (1)


11/07/08 10:46 AM

thank you so much for that link, raul. those photos do, as you suggest, muscle right through the cliche of abandonment.

I still struggle with the whole attraction of abandoned spaces as subjects. I live in what is generally known as the u.s.'s greatest city for urban ruins (detroit). for the first year I lived here I avoided the ruined places because photographing them did seem like such a ridiculous cliche. strangely, some of the photos I did eventually start taking of these places (such as this one or this one) have received all kinds of attention. as cliched as these sorts of images might be, I wonder if the attraction isn't also fueled by a real interest in this subject matter by those who "consume" photography.

11/14/08 01:50 PM

Hello, This reminds me of New York Photographer Jason Andrew's work in Jazzland.

11/17/08 02:29 PM

great work, pablo cabado is one of my favorites photographers, he works with a large format camera, 8x10 i think... I see some of his large prints in a gallery in miami a few weeks ago... AMAZING !!

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