The first breeding ground for free photography is born

The Tierra Viva agency launches “Minga”, a free photography platform that showcases the life and work of farming families, indigenous communities, agricultural cooperative sectors and social-environmental assemblies. In the first phase, 12 photographers contributed images that show Argentina’s diversity, which contributes to building food sovereignty and good living.

“You don’t see them.” With the ease of a teenage streamer, Javier Miley, Argentina’s top official, recreated the phrase on his phone, allowing the seven letters to be added to a virtual library of social networks, artificial intelligence, several different “lions” and selfies of Donald Trump and Elon Musk on their X Network (formerly Twitter) accounts.

In recent weeks, the slogan born on Twitter, the president’s favorite territory, has transcended the cyberspace of the Internet and become a staple of secular discussions. Although they systematically attack photographers at every demonstration, it’s worth asking: What are they “not” seeing? Why do they point out those they deem “short-sighted” while at the same time persecuting those they want to point out and denounce?

Oppression is an effervescent phenomenon that is not harmless and has very specific goals. The effect of the tear gas does not dissipate on the streets, but spreads into a symbolic battle that the ruling party is prepared to wage on all fronts. There are no photos, just the statistics rising from this irritating steam.

In colonialism, words have a very special function: they don’t name, they hide“, the Bolivian sociologist Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui points out in her book Chixinacax Utxiva, a harbinger of the history of forgetting. Photography is definitely memory. Once finished, it becomes a record of the past. In a country like Argentina, where vertigo forces us to exercise selective memory to remember what happened a few days ago: how can we build a collective history when we don’t even have appropriate images to to narrate the present? In this context and with these questions in mind, members of the Tierra Viva cooperative founded Minga: the first photo bank about family, peasant and indigenous agriculture.

It would be presumptuous to assume that this initiative serves any purpose other than providing free downloadable images to rural organizations, researchers, journalists and anyone else interested in telling the story of rural areas from the perspective of those who produce food and use . the people’s table. Five hundred and seventy images that complete the first upload of this photo studio give the feeling that we are dealing with a larger project and that it was born to grow.

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Hotbed of photographs
Photo: Matías Sarlo. Horticulture in the province of Mendoza.

Hotbed for online photography

Currently available online, the cover of this photography hub features authors from across the country who have created a range of fresh and engaging photographs. The images were requested by the Tierra Viva cooperative according to specific criteria in order to create a series of images related to the earth, what comes from it and what keeps it alive.

In the first phase, 12 photographers sent their photos to expand the photo collection and create a website with diverse, well-organized and high-quality material. The website “Minga”, whose name comes from a general meeting to carry out a common task for the common good, was created over the course of a year and involved, in addition to the authors, the entire team responsible for programming the website, developing licenses and editing of images, the documentation for cataloging and completing the creation of the project identity.

Therefore, it is argued that “Minga” is a powerful tool that serves practical purposes, serving as an accurate search engine and a comprehensive visual record of life in rural Argentina. In this visual world, photography’s role in creating meaning becomes increasingly important.

A new term has recently emerged to describe our voracious consumption of images in the constant flow of social media and mass production. The iconography determines the constant consumption of the image and at the same time suggests the creator’s ability to capture and create new images with the same assimilation and reproduction. The visual excess actually hides the story’s flaws. Constant and insatiable hunger is not a result of scarcity, but of the quality of food.

This “stronghold of photographs”, as the members of Tierra Viva like to call it, is in contrast to the profitable idea of ​​the “bank”, which aims to make an important contribution to strengthening the communication of agroecology, this sector produces food and all that support the rural model and defend food sovereignty and a good life.

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