Uruguay may be one of South America’s smallest countries, but it offers endless inspiration for its world-class photographers who document its landscape, architecture and people – from the indigenous gauchos to the beauty of abandoned coastal homes
Bordered by Brazil and Argentina, and distinguished by its wind-swept surf beaches, rivers, estuaries and swathes of pampas, Uruguay offers an array of diverse natural sights, alongside a population united by a love of music, food and football. In their work, the following photographers portray the color of their native land and also explore societies and crises beyond their country’s borders.
Born in Uruguay, Luis Fabini began his career as a travel photojournalist, documenting the vast South American landscape. In 2003, armed with his camera, he began hitchhiking to northern Uruguay in search of authentic gauchos. His encounters led to a decade-long project and a monograph, Cowboys of the Americas. Fabini continues to study this indigenous society and shares his intriguing photographs on Instagram.
Uruguay-Italian Alvaro Zinno is one of Uruguay’s most notable photographers (and also happens to be a structural engineer), with a photographic aesthetic that explores the deteriorating Uruguayan landscape and the ensuing themes of loneliness and isolation. His work has been showcased in numerous galleries and at auctions around the world, from New York to Mexico.
Julio Etchart, who grew up in Uruguay and then lived in the UK, specializes in social documentation. Throughout his career, he has worked with numerous non-profit organizations, such as UNICEF, Oxfam and Save the Children, documenting social crises first-hand. His photographs highlight worldwide problems, from air pollution to the plight of refugees.
Pau Delgado Iglesias
Pau Delgado Iglesias is an artist and photographer from Montevideo who now resides in Mexico. As well as photography, her output encompasses performance and video. With themes of sexual, national and gender identities, her work contradicts societal norms and traditions. Controversial and thought-provoking, it is exhibited in museums all over the world.
The self-taught Uruguayan photographer Armando Sartorotti, who has in the past worked as a photo editor for newspapers, is a man of the people: alongside focusing on his country’s landscape, he also chooses to photograph its citizens. With an Instagram feed full of nature and smiling faces, he embodies the optimistic social standing of the country through his art.