Simon Plestenjak: Gringo

Photographer: SIMON PLESTENJAK

With a touch of 60s style. The foreigner’s view through retro lenses, not as a tourist but as the “Gringo”.

Live and rough images from São Paulo and Rio.

Photography & Video.

From 11th December to 14th January.

Launch: Thursday 11th December 2008 from 7.30pm at 16mm Deli Café & Screening Room.

Simon Plestenjak comes from Slovenia and he became a photographer in Brazil. He graduated in Photography in São Paulo on a postgraduate course at SENAC in 2005. Meanwhile, his love for photography resulted in a series of images with specific visual language. A combination of his portfolio, a set of coincidences, the right people and good luck got him a freelance job at the major Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo. That was the start of his professional work as a photographer. Simon is nowadays based in Slovenia, working as a photo-reporter, publishing in magazines such as the Slovenian edition of National Geographic. His latest reportage is on squatting in London, which has just been finished and is about to be published.

‘Simply Gringo’, in the artist’s words:

“I can’t believe you are taking photos with this camera!”

- Interrupted an anxious old man while I was having my films developed at a photo-shop in Pinheiros, São Paulo. He was totally excited.

“This is a camera I used to have! We, me and some other guys were photographing people on Copacabana and selling them the photos … those were the days… that was in the sixties!”

My photos gained a new meaning with this man! All printed photos on this exhibition were taken with an old Olympus PEN camera from the 60s, bought in São Paulo at an antiquity shop. With no-zoom, no-focus and no-battery, this was the best choice to capture São Paulo and Rio’s spirit and to practice what I believe is the quality of Brazil – simplicity.

Throughout my two years of life in São Paulo, with constant coastal trips up to Rio, I was leaving my digital camera behind and kept shooting with PEN, for my personal pleasure only. The advantages were multiple: the camera was small, nobody would rob me for it, and I could focus on motives instead of technical perfection. I later had films developed in a cross process, which brought out weird colors and strong contrasts – exactly as I, a gringo, was seeing the exotic world around me: lively and rough.

Contact Simon on his e-mail plesty@gmail.com and check his initial portfolio on www.simples.ws

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