Greetings Photoion students and photography fans, we’ve got another entry in our masters of photography series for you today. This series looks at the life and work of some of the 20th century’s most important photographers.
This time we are taking a look at the work of Pedro Luis Raota.
Born in 1934 in Buenos Aires, Raota came from a family of farmers who expected him to follow in their footsteps and continue the family trade.
Raoto had different plans, however. He sold his bicycle to pay for his first camera and soon began to capture portrait images.
It wasn’t long before he left his hometown to establish a photography studio in Villaguay. It was here that Raoto earned the first of his many prizes for his photography. He would go on to be the most award-winning photographer in Argentina.
Much of Raoto’s work focused on the working class, with many of his images portraying their lives of hard work and toil. His early work, in particular, was shot with high contrasts in black and white, with the deep blacks of shadows and the ground contrasting with the often over-exposed subjects.
The emotions of his images were often conveyed through the face of his subjects as they went about their day-to-day lives. This could be the look of stress on a manual labourer or that of joy on a child’s face as they played.
This focus on people, their lives, and their emotions gives Raoto’s work a very personal feeling which helped him to become so beloved.
Raoto is often hailed as the “Ansel Adams of Argentina” due to his prolific work and the sheer number of awards he managed to accumulate in his short life. Before his death at the age of 52, Raoto won many awards for his photography around the world and published several books of his photography.