Teresa Neptune

Buenos Aires - First Impressions

Intrigued by Buenos Aires for years, I finally made the trip in January of 2011. My airline reservation was for a 90-day stay, the maximum time allowed without a visa. I figured that if it didn’t work out, for whatever reason, I could change my ticket and come home early.

90 days passed like a heady, long-weekend. Time lost all bearing for me as I explored the endless, enigmatic streets of the teeming metropolis of 12 million on the edge of a huge, muddy delta flowing into the Atlantic Ocean 5500 miles south of here.

These photographs do not attempt a comprehensive view of Buenos Aires. Rather, they showcase my journey doing what I love to do most as I took to the streets of the barrios that intrigued me, walking for hours to see what would present itself.

In the height of the summer (January - March), the city streets emptied and quieted down to an almost unrecognizable degree every weekend. On Saturday mornings it was easy to imagine that some emergency evacuation had taken place in the middle of the night and that the citizens had shuttered their businesses and homes, and fled.

It was on these long, hot, quiet weekends, watching the shadows stretch in the northern light that I found the streets most irresistible. The parks filled up with families. Boys played futbol wherever they could get away with it - often on streets so congested during the week that they were hard to cross. Street fairs and vegetable stalls sprang up replacing buses, taxis and parked cars. Couples sat in their doorways drinking yerba mate with their neighbors, watching the afternoon pass. Life was being lived on the street, day and night.

Most of these photographs were taken in San Telmo, one of the oldest sections of the city to the south, a barrio that most captured my imagination, welcomed me and revealed to me a glimpse of its endless layers. I stayed in several apartments in San Telmo, and it became for me a vibrant, mysterious, bohemian village, surrounded by a huge city.

But enough words. I hope you will see what I saw, and feel some of what I felt with my first impressions of Buenos Aires. Enjoy!

Teresa Neptune
Santa Fe, NM, 2011 (Exhibition Statement)

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