Portrait photographer Matias Antoniassi had had a dream to shoot Argentinian Gauchos for quite some time. When he finally got the time to do it, he returned to his home country and brought a Profoto B1 with him. This is his own story.
In January 2014 I travelled to Argentina, the land where I was born. Among several photo documentaries that I had to shoot, taking portraits of the Gauchos was one that had been in my mind for several years already. The Gauchos are herdsmen from Argentina’s prairies and are therefore excellent horse riders. It was during the ‘Festival of the Horse’ a regional festival held in Urdinarrain, in the province of Entre Ríos, where Gauchos from all over Argentina congregates, that I was able to shoot these portraits. It was a first for me. But also for a lot of the Gauchos. They live rather solitary and modest lives, one without superfluous technology. The vast majority had never had their portrait taken.
I tried to showcase their beautiful faces, shaped by the years and the sun. For that reason I decided to use both the available light and flash, giving both the photographs a timeless quality and the gauchos a star like quality.
I wanted to demonstrate how well the Profoto B1 is suited for straightforward outdoor portraiture and that it is not restricted to action and extreme sport shoots only. I usually use the Zoom Reflector because of its versatility, ease of use, lightness, and because it doesn’t take a lot of space. This time however, my Light Shaping Tool of choice was an RFi Softbox 3’ Octa with RFi Softgrid 50° 3′ Octa. The setup was so lightweight that my father, who at an age of 67 acted VIP assistant, could hold the Profoto B1 and the Softbox on a boom arm, in complete stillness.
As far as I am concerned, the Profoto B1 is the perfect ally to the adventurous photographer who likes to do exploratory shoots without sacrificing the quality of his or her equipment. It is reactive, solid, and with a battery life that outlives yours.
It is also discrete. Yet its 500W/s is sufficiently powerful for my use. All photos were taken with a Hasselblad H3DII-39 and his HC 80mm at f2.8, 50 iso, 1/800th. Controlling the power with the Air Remote was fabulously easy, quick and precise. As expected the B1 never let me down. Its only ‘competitor’ is my old Profoto AcuteB 600R that travel with me wherever I go.
The series was on show at Vichy’s Portrait Festival in 2014, where it was well received by major photographers including Bruce Gilden and Cédric Delsaux, and exhibited at the ‘ Festival of the Horse’ in January 2016. If I am lucky enough I will have the opportunity to personally give their printing to those brave Gauchos.