Sergio Larrain: Valparaiso

Sergio Larrain: Valparaiso

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 Agnès Sire and the celebrated Pablo Neruda as well as correspondence between Larrain and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Valparaíso, by Aperture Foundation, presents the long-awaited return of this rare and renowned body of work.

“Valparaiso is great body of work, starting as a magazine assignment and turning into a full personal project. He captures an atmosphere of the city which feels both personal and heightened,” says about it Martin Parr.

Through handwritten and typed notes, letters, and drawings published in the book, Larrain contemplates humanity, emotion, time, consciousness, cosmology, nature and evangelizes about the importance of yoga, all of which reveal the deep sensitivity that permeated his work. His affinity with Buddhist philosophy would eventually develop into a disengagement from photography in favour of a reclusive life of meditation. Valparaiso, however, offers an intimate insight into Larrain’s thoughts and meditations during the most intense period of his acclaimed photographic practice.

About Sergio Larrain

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.

More info on Aperture’s website.

ISBN-13: 978-1597114134
ISBN-10:  1597114138

Hardcover: 212 pages
Publisher: Aperture (January 20, 2017)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
Weight: 1.6 pounds

Sergio Larrain 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.

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