I have been fortunate to have had a profession that has taken me all over the world. My Skate Photography has taken me to several continents, but I had never been to South America and never to Argentina in particular. This last September, Tony Hawk invited me to travel with him and the Birdhouse team to a big Vert Demo in Buenos Aires.
Whenever I travel for skateboarding, I always get up early and cruise the streets and shoot photos of people, buildings, statues—you know, the sights. I walked around for a few days with my Leica Minilux and shot a few rolls of black and white film. On my last day in the city, I walked through a heavy thunderstorm for a couple of miles to La Recoleta Cemetery.
Recoleta is a huge cemetery in Buenos Aires begun in the 1700s and rated by many as one of the world’s “Best” cemeteries. There are over 4600 vaults on top of the ground and many notable Argentines, including the First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, are interred there. Stopping to buy an umbrella on my way, I arrived at the gates of the massive cemetery. I could not have picked a better day to visit; the weather cut attendance way down from the usual crowds I saw on the website and there were very few tourists. My only comrades were the graveyard cats, and they didn’t mind me. The weather also made shooting black and white film the perfect choice for the gray and dreary scene.
Wandering through the small avenues of magnificent tombs was pretty mind blowing. I was in my artistic element. I have always been drawn to religious iconography, statues and architecture. I could have spent all day getting lost in every row, but I only had a couple of hours before flying home. One of my favorite photos from that day in the cemetery in Buenos Aires is of the tomb of General Miguel Estanislao Soler, with this mysterious female statue. I've printed her on women's size t-shirts. I can also print it on a variety of paper, wood and metal.
I have a bit of advice, if you are ever in Buenos Aires, a visit to La Recoleta Cemetery is a must stop; wander around for a few hours, slow down and don’t forget your camera.