Versus…sixteen lane roads filled with multicoloured collectivos beeping their horns, taxistas screaming their collection of incomprehensible and unrepeatable swear words and the smell of choripan filling the air.
Two very distinct images of our beloved Argentina. Being a Buenos Aires based tour, Foto Ruta is definitely a city creature. At home amongst the smog and the shouting, and our weekly Foto Ruta participants tend to capture more of the latter on our excursions. But that doesn’t stop us from stepping back once in a while, for a glimpse of those distant snow capped mountains, big skies and never ending roads that Argentina is so famous for.
A film that beautifully captures all of the above and combines it with our other love, Wine. Cerca del Cielo, is a lovely piece of filmaking by James Kibbey, created for the Argento Wine Company. The short film follows a day in the life of Argento Winemaker Silvia Corti on a journey from vineyard to table, all set against the beautiful Mendoza backdrop. Take a look here Cerca del Cielo
We wanted to speak to British filmmaker/photographer James Kibbey and ask him a bit more about the making of the film, and his love of Argentina…
James, being a filmmaker is the dream of many a creative person, tell us a bit about how you came to live the dream! I started making films in between lectures at university. The first short film I made, won a few awards in the UK and in the States and that gave me the belief there could be a career in it so I set up Black Shark Media when I left university.
And you’re a photographer as well? Yes, I do some photography as well (www.jameskibbey.com). I have been lucky enough to shoot a variety of projects for clients both in the UK and Argentina.
What photographic training have you had? None. Like film-making, I have learned everything by doing. And making mistakes. For me, that’s the best way. But maybe not always the easiest!
Something we always get asked on Foto Ruta, is how one approaches the art of portraits. Do you ask before taking a photo of someone in the street? For me it depends how featured the subject is. I don’t really take “street portraits” so much, I prefer to shoot more documentary style, but if someone is clearly featured, it’s best to ask.
How did you end up filming / photographing Argentina? I spent a year living in Buenos Aires and managed to get some great jobs taking photos for various magazines and a fantastic project for a wine company. I also travelled throughout Argentina so shot a lot of photos and video for personal projects – it’s a very photogenic country!
What makes Argentina a great photography destination? Everything! The country has it all – mountains, desert, glaciers, wilderness, vineyards, estancias, some amazing wildlife, and lots of human faces full of character. And then there’s Buenos Aires – probably the best city in the world to photograph.
What did you find to be the biggest challenges working as a photographer in Argentina? I think like in any big city, you have to watch your back when taking photos in Buenos Aires. I never had any problems myself but I was pretty careful. It’s important to always have a sense of the environment you’re in.
And in contrast, were there any additional challenges to filmaking in Argentina? The heat can be a problem. I had the occasional issue with a camera over-heating in the middle of the day. On jobs, I’d always have a back-up camera so I don’t lose any filming time.
When filming on location, what equipment can you not do without? (other than your camera obviously) In Argentina, a ND filter is pretty crucial for filming. Whereas with photography you can adjust both the aperture and shutter speed to expose, when you’re filming I’m usually keeping the shutter speed constant at 1/50 so if I also want a low F Stop for a shallow depth of field, then an ND filter is essential in daylight.
Foto Ruta is all about using the streets of Buenos Aires and a set of clues as a source of inspiration. What do you find inspires you creatively? Inspiration can come from anywhere. But generally, I will watch films – both features at the cinema or DVD and short films on Vimeo or YouTube. Music influences me a lot as well – I will usually create a playlist when making a film or photographing of music that I think relates in some way to the subject matter.
Nice! Well… we urge you to check out the film on vimeo beautiful watching and accompanied by an equally inspiring soundtrack. And, you can take a look at some more of James’ photography on the Real Argentina website