Sergio Larrain: ValparaísoTexts by Agnès Sire and Pablo Neruda
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A notoriously reclusive artist, Sergio Larrain had a photographic career that was relatively short before he retreated to the Chilean countryside in the late 1960s to study meditation. Nevertheless, he is widely celebrated for his experimental process and the raw imagery he produced throughout Europe and Latin America. His most well-known project, Valparaíso, began in 1957 while he was traveling with poet Pablo Neruda for Du magazine. When the photographs were first published in 1991, Larrain informed the publishers that he had made his own facsimile of the book, reflecting how he would have constructed the layout, and now this facsimile is beautifully produced for the first time in book form. Including text by the celebrated Pablo Neruda as well as correspondence between Larrain and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Valparaíso presents the long-awaited return of this rare and renowned body of work.
Sergio Larrain (1931–2012, born in Santiago, Chile) studied at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon his return to Chile he began taking photographs in the streets of Santiago and Valparaiso; the early purchase of two images by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, reassured him in his chosen profession. After presenting a project on los abandonados (street children in Santiago) to Henri Cartier-Bresson, he was invited to join Magnum in 1960; around this time he also began what would become a legendary project on Valparaiso with a text by poet Pablo Neruda. Unsure if he was suited to working for the press, Larrain retreated to the Chilean countryside and dedicated himself to yoga, meditation, and drawing until his death in February 2012.
Pablo Neruda (text) is one of the most celebrated poets of the twentieth century. Throughout his lifetime he worked as a diplomat for his home country of Chile. He was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He died in Chile in 1973.
Agnès Sire (text) has served as the director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris since its creation in 2003, where she oversees exhibitions and publications. Previously, she worked at Galerie Alexandre Iolas and was art director at Magnum Photos in Paris.
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