Photographer's Note

I've been living in Buenos Aires for the past 10 months, and whenever people come to town for business or on vacation, we make a quick stop in La Boca to show them the color of the city. While it is now nothing more than a tourist attraction, there are vibrant colors and local artisans selling their inexpensive works of art among tango dancers, souvenir shops and cafes.

This section of La Boca is called Caminito. The colors are painted in primary colors. I have seen other explanations of this on TE, but it’s been explained to me that when immigrants from Europe and Africa migrated from the outskirts of the city in the late 1800's to the city, they had little money and few resources to build their community. As a result, whatever left over buckets of paint were left at the docks were used to paint the buildings. When one color ran out, they moved on to the next. For this reason, the buildings are painted in an array of primary colors.

The tango was born here. Tango now epitomizes wealth and glamour, but it was once the music of frustrated love. The story goes that in the 1880's, many immigrants gravitated to houses of ill repute at the port. Some say that the dance was the result of sailors having nothing to do and creating a dance with each other, while others say that the tango was developed as an acting out of the relationship between the prostitute and her pimp. Whatever the true story, tango has gone through it's times of repression and revival, seen by some as an obscene dance.

During the first 2 decades of the 20th century, the tango took Paris by storm and was elevated to a dance of high society in Argentina as well. In 1918, the famous tango singer, Carlos Gardel became a star and was like the Elvis Presley of Argentina. His picture and statues can be seen all around town.

The military coup in 1930 silenced the tango, but it was revived in the late 30's, once again taking a place in daily life, and the life of the wealthy. Because of this, the lyrics took on more romantic, less negative lyrics. It became a dance of nostalgia.

When Juan Peron took power, he and Evita brought the dance to life again until her death in 1952. The tango has regained popularity one more time and in the US, it gained popularity in the late 90's with the productions of Forever Tango in San Franciso and on Broadway.

In this photo, the dancers are engaged in this complex dance on the concrete streets of La Boca. The sun was shining high in the sky during a hot, early summer day in December as tourists looked on. You can see the worn red, yellow and blue on the building behind them with the ubiquitous Coca Cola logos on the umbrella and table in the background.


don_narayan, cjmm, Bolivar, alejandroguzman has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Fran Feldman (fmfelman) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 27 W: 0 N: 41] (118)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2005-12-10
  • Categories: Daily Life
  • Camera: Canon S2 IS
  • Exposure: f/3.5, 1/60 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2005-12-31 12:36
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
Viewed: 3849
Points: 3
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Additional Photos by Fran Feldman (fmfelman) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 27 W: 0 N: 41] (118)
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