Cementerio de la Recoleta

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La Recoleta Cemetery – Buenos Aires, Argentina

In November 2016 we travelled to Buenos Aires, and our accommodation afforded a view of Recoleta Cemetery. It is set on 5.5 hectares and contains over 4000 vaults/crypts, all above ground. There are many mausoleums, elaborately designed in marble with statues and in a variety of architectural styles from Art Deco to Baroque to Neo-Gothic. Many Argentine presidents and statesmen/women were laid to rest here including Eva Perón, First Lady of Argentina.

I started by photographing the changing light of the cemetery from our balcony over several days, then moved inside the cemetery to discover some of the amazing vaults. As it was the beginning of the Argentine summer, the light was usually hard and direct. I had originally thought an overcast day would make the images more pleasing, more textured, but I was drawn to the bright highlights and deep, delineated shadows.

I began to see that most of the entrance doors to the vaults were secured in some way. Many had shiny locks, rusted locks or chains, and yet others were secured only with a wilted flower or a piece of wire, pushed through the clasp. Some doors were broken at the hinges, an act of vandals, but were still secured with a lock. These locks were there surely to prevent theft but I began to think that perhaps the locks were also used to keep the souls of loved ones inside…safe.

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All images were shot with a Fuji X100s. RAW files were converted in LR then exported to Silver Efex Pro2 (except colour images)  Slight adjustments were made back in LR including subtle split toning using a formula that Fuji X photographer, Kevin Mullins shared on his blog.

Buenos Aires

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