Life in six scenes. Buenos Aires. Circa 1910.

Vintage print on gelatin silver paper and toned in sepia. Measures. Photograph: 5.8 x 13.3 cm. Secondary support in thick brown cardboard: 13.8 x 30.6 cm. Printed advertising on the support in a darker brown color: "Photography Pascale. Corrientes 1640, Buenos Aires". The aforementioned support -with some marginal deterioration- has a delicate artistic work with various guards framing the original photographic work and an embossed shield on the upper left edge. Photographic work in relatively good condition.

The city of Buenos Aires begins the twentieth century with a concentration of more than a hundred photographic galleries, most of them devoted to the profitable business of social portraiture. Such high competition caused the leading studios to resort to innovative creations to satisfy their clientele.

Among those firms from Buenos Aires and of great prestige were the well-known establishments of the brothers Bernardino and Nicolás Pascale, both painters and photographers from Naples (Italy). Argentina and, around the year 1905 -according to Pablo Basch's National Guide- he was already managing his establishment in the then Corrientes street N° 1670/1676.

Some time later he sent for his younger brother to work together in this active studio, but, based on family references and even Bernardino's own advertisements, the fact that the Pascale brothers had a serious commercial and family disagreement emerged. Surely and due to this situation, Nicolás opened around 1910 -information from the Kraft Guide of that year- his own firm "Photography Pascale" a few steps from his brother's address, in Corrientes N ° 1640.

In addition to exploiting all the formats and fashions in the field of social portraiture, both turned to the impressive "Serial Portraits" that had significant success for a few years. The historian Andrea Cuarterolo points out that this modality is a reflection of the impact generated in the public by the new cinematography (Paris. 1895).

The present visual narrative is in fact a technical display especially for the operator of the laboratory, where the six different negatives had to be perfectly copied on a single long, landscape sensitive paper. For these special works it was common to use two people - like these young gentlemen - who dialogue and pose in different situations. The lighting from the right is remarkable. Really funny to see men with children's toys.

We confess that, in thirty years of photographic research, this is the first serial work that we know of in the original fan or accordion form. It is interesting to note that it is linked to the oral references of the same Pascale family, who still remember a gigantic poster representing this modality on the front of the establishment of Nicolás, who after running numerous ateliers in Buenos Aires, died in this city late age of 93 years.

Without a doubt, an attractive photographic proposal.

Abel Alexander

President of the Ibero-American Society for the History of Photography


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