Whenever people ask me for the must-see sights in Buenos Aires, I tell them the major touring can all be done within two days. Some ambitious people even do it in one. Getting to know Buenos Aires, really getting a feel for it, requires tourist activity beyond the requisite stops at the Recoleta Cemetery, Plaza de Mayo and El Caminito, though. It takes slow, observant walks through the neighborhoods, almost all of which have very distinct personalities and style. Buenos Aires is a city to experience: stopping, listening, tasting and interacting.
More than a few people share this same philosophy, including the founders of Foto Ruta Buenos Aires. In fact, is congruent with the manifesto of the photography-based exploratory tour. Foto Ruta takes place within the boundaries of one Buenos Aires neighborhood, usually one tourists are less likely to explore, such as the creative, raw Villa Crespo. It starts in a bar, which is also where it ends with participants sharing their photos over drinks. At the beginning, Jocelyn and Becky brief everyone on the history and highlights of the neighborhood, impart some photography tips and send all off in small groups with maps and inspirational phrases or “clues.” They have a couple hours to capture photos related to each of the phrases.
I had become friends with one of the Foto Ruta founders, the very talented photographer Jocelyn Mandryk, before the tours launched a few months back. Jocelyn and her marketing-savvy business partner Becky Hayes invited me on a tour as a member of the press, and I was able to give them some well deserved coverage in a post for Fodor’s titled “Dispatch from Buenos Aires: A Taste of the City’s Art Scene.” Because I came out of my tour in Barrio Chino/Belgrano feeling deserving of calling myself an amateur photographer (grand illusions) I decided to post the photos I snapped for the “clues” during my tour.
1. Colonial faces
2. Land of the rising sun
3. Don’t cross my tracks
4. Slimey, slippery & of the sea
5. Scent of an empire
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