Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On that nodescript Buenos Aires photograph

There is a certain art to putting together a post like this. You don't necessarily post your "best" photos, and you certainly don't post images of the sorts of things commenter "Raul" mentions (all of which I did take photographs of) because a post could equally well be compiled by buying 20 picture postcards and scanning them will not be a very interesting post. If I do post a classic "picture postcard" image, then that probably indicates that (for whatever reason) I had relatively few pictures to choose from for that destination. Of course, I did post one of Argentina's classic "picture postcard" images two photos below, but I allocated it to Brazil (which is fair, as I was in Brazil when I took it and the foreground is in Brazil). As it happens, I spent most of three weeks in Argentina, took around 2000 photographs, and I had considerably more photographs to choose from than any other country on the list, and it took me a long time to decide what to post. I toyed with re-using this photograph that I took near Tunayan in Mendoza province (in which amongst other things I like the fact that what initially appears to be clouds in the background is actually the Andes and this becomes clear when you take a second look). Then I thought of posting this photograph of Santiago Calatrava's footbridge in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, but it would have been the second structure designed by the same architect in the post, plus I don't think it really captures as much of the spirit of the city as I would have liked. Then I thought of showing the great arched trainshed at Estacion Retiro (with its interesting contradiction that one of the greatest railway stations in the world hosts very few trains) but didn't quite have the right photo, and I had already posted another railway station. Then I thought of perhaps showing some of the beautiful riverside buildings and bridges at Tigre, but that was slightly too close to picture postcard territory, although the very Englishness of some of the buildings would have given it an interesting twist. Then I thought of showing a picture of the memorial to the dead of the 1981 war, but I conluded it was too sombre (and whatever it is, Buenos Aires is not a sombre city). Then I thought about my first morning in Buenos Aires. After a very tiring flight from Madrid the previous evening and a night's sleep, I stumbled from my hotel the next morning, and just about the first thing I saw was an ice cream shop named after the Malvinas. A thought of "okay...." went through my mind, and I took my first photograph of the trip. Definitely, though, the rules I have set myself as to how many photographs I post to posts like this do serve countries like Argentina (and the US, which got very short shrift last year) badly. The rule is essentially "One photograph for each country I visit on each absence from England". Thus a country I visit for three weeks gets one photograph, as does a visit to a border town for an afternoon. In South America I spent two days in Chile, less than one day in each of Brazil and Uruguay, and three weeks in Argentina (where I of course had a wonderful time) and the four countries get one photograph each.

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