Every now and again I offer up some vintage goodness that I happen to find as I trawl the Internet. I recently stumbled upon this trove of vintage photos from the Witcomb Collection of the Archivo General de la Nación [Argentina's National Archives]. While the collection contains a number of fascinating images, I found myself particularly drawn to photographs from the late 1800s that illustrate Argentina's gaucho culture.
Like the cowboys of the American West, there's a rugged romanticism attached to the gauchos and the rough-and-tumble lifestyle they led on the Argentine pampa. The images in this collection offer a glimpse into that world.
Most of the photographs featured below were taken by Argentine photographer Francisco Ayerza. An enthusiast at a time when methods were still crude and quite challenging, Ayerza's love of photography inspired him to establish the Sociedad Fotográfica Argentina de Aficionados, the country's first amateur photography club. According to the book Culture and Customs of Argentina, his "…goal was to record and preserve through photography the daily life of both the city and the rural areas. Ayerza took a particular interest in documenting the traditional life of the gaucho and of country folk in general."
We owe a debt of thanks to early photographers such as Ayerza for allowing us to indulge in a bit of time travel.[A stunning image of Ramón Tavieres, the gaucho who oversaw Estancia San Juan de Pereyra in the province of Buenos Aires]
[A payador—a gaucho minstrel of sorts—with his guitar]