San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tico Entrepreneur and Photographer Shows Argentinean Photo Series in Miami

Guido Castro, Costa Rican photographer and owner of a large travel company, will present “The Skin of Buenos Aires” in 45 close-range images in a traveling show that opened Oct. 7 in Miami.

The exhibit features not the postcard snapshots one might expect from the president of a large tour company, but the textures of Argentinean walls. Peeling paint and graffiti become abstract art through the lens of the 73-year-old, self-taught photographer.

“One sees so many things,” Castro said. “Not just details, but coloration, texture.” Walls are always different, he said, and, in turn, so are his photos.

After Miami, the show will come to Costa Rica, probably in January, at the Costa Rican Art Museum on the east side of San José’s La Sabana Park. Castro said he has also been speaking with the government of Argentina and the Costa Rican Embassy in Argentina, which are interested in showing his work in Buenos Aires, perhaps in April of next year.

With his camera, Castro began inspecting walls and textures about seven years ago, during a trip to Antigua, Guatemala. The product was a 15-piece show entitled “Colonial Textures,”which went on exhibit in San José in October 1999 (TT, Oct. 22, 1999) and in Miami in January 2000.

“I travel a lot,” said Castro, president and owner of the 42-year-old TAM Travel Corporation in San José. He and his wife Ileana have three children and six grandchildren.

During trips to Buenos Aires over the past few years, Castro put his lens to the city’s walls and came away with bright colors, peeling cement, glistening contrast and layers of splashed paint and grime. Because the subjects vary from doors to posters to plain walls to ornamental concrete shrouded in cobwebs, each work suggests a different style of the abstract. Some close-ups are like landscapes, and others plainly document graffiti art of the street. Most are quiet, and beautiful.

Castro’s camera “probes, X-rays, fathoms and decants the urban and subterranean skin levels of a city that bewitched and inspired Borges and Bioy Casares in literature, and Gardel, Discépolo and Piazzola in the realm of the tango,” wrote Luis Zalamea, a Colombian poet and novelist and a friend of Castro’s. Castro’s next round of abstract travel photography is set for 2007 and 2008, in Cuba.

“The Skin of Buenos Aires” will be displayed at BordersArtGallery,

1601 SW First Street

, in Miami, through Oct. 31.


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