For three decades, the work of Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain was seen only by archivists. Now, two years after his death, Larrain’s images are finally getting their due.
FOR CHILEAN PHOTOGRAPHER SERGIO LARRAIN, beauty was in the details: a child’s face, a dog, a reflection. “The perfect photograph is a kind of miracle that appears in a blaze of light,” Larrain wrote. “You press the button almost by chance and the miracle happens.”
Born in Santiago in 1931, Larrain worked prolifically in the late 1950s and 1960s, with assignments from Magnum Photos and Henri Cartier-Bresson taking him around the globe. Then, in the late 1970s, he stopped. “I feel that the pressures of journalism—the need to be ready to jump on a story at any moment—destroys my concentration and love of work,” Larrain wrote. He retreated to northern Chile to live a life of monastic seclusion, painting, drawing, and practicing yoga.
All photos were taken in Chile between 1952 and 1963. Photos from the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson are on exhibit at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile, through July 15. Sergio Larrain is available through the Aperture Foundation. $85, aperture.org.