I lived in the islands of the Paraná River Delta in Argentina for three years. Far away from the city and connected with the river and the local people. During these years living in the islands, I photographed its community under the light of the Moon. Influenced by books and stories about the great Paraná River, I began to observe how people live and work in a natural environment where the primary element is water. Every day I crossed the Paraná River in a motorboat, meeting island residents here and there—on the wharf, in a store or at the floating gas station.
I became an islander in order to document the everyday lives of the people in this community on the Delta. Posing on islands illuminated by the full moon, families, fishermen, sailors, loggers, and hunters contributed to my portrait of this island community. I worked with a large-format camera to capture staged nighttime shots that included people, water, sky and vegetation. Each photo required a long exposure that forced my subjects to remain motionless for as long as ten minutes. I sought to convey the extraordinary visual and poetic impact of the river as well as the intimate relationship between the Paraná Delta community and their environment.
Text by Martin Parr
By the time I had seen the third image in Chaskeilberg’s folio I was convinced this was a major new photographer. I had never seen any images like this before and few with such maturity from a new photographer.
On one level his work is documents a rural community living on the banks of the Parana river delta. But there is so much more than this. All taken during the full moon, his photos are a virtuoso exploration of how flash, torches, moonlight and posed portraits all fuse together in a seamless manner. The photographer has combined subject and methodology so convincingly that you know he has resolved this brilliantly. So much so, you hardly notice the thin line between subject and style.
When I first saw his work, he had already a good year of shooting behind him but I was convinced he needed to return to fully realise the potential of this project. So he returned to the area from mid 2009 to mid 2010 to consolidate his exploration and documentation.
Every photograph is carefully researched and rehearsed. As each one needs to have the backdrop of the full moon as an essential ingredient, the window for shooting is no more than three clear nights. The subjects, being hard working foresters, are usually tucked up in bed by 9pm, have to be persuaded to stay up late and sit for many minutes while the long exposures are made. The fact he stayed in this community was an obvious advantage. All the subjects knew his project and were willing sitters. The image featured on page xx is remarkable as this was the first time one itinerant Paraguayan worker had ever seen a photo of himself.
The documentary value of these images is the real bonus. If we did not know who they were, or indeed where they were taken, these images would still delight the eye.
I think a key element of this work is the fact that Chaskielberg was previously a director of photography in the film world. The rigour of setting up artificial lighting, staging and making the frame work – all contribute the essential elements to this project.
This remarkable body of work ticks all the boxes. It is art, it is stylistically innovative, it documents a fragile community, and it helps to give substance to the new emerging photographic culture to be found in Argentina.
La Creciente, 2010
Published by Nazraeli Press
Forewords by Martin Parr
World Photographer of the Year 2011 - WPO
Emerging Photographer Grant - Magnum Foundation
Leopold Godowsky Jr. Award - Boston University
All Roads Program - National Geographic Society
Top Thirty Photographers Worldwide - PDN Magazine
Galería Benzacar Buenos Aires 2007
Yossi Milo Gallery New York 2011
Michael Hoppen Gallery London 2011
Ring Cube Gallery, Tokyo 2012
916 Gallery Tokyo 2012
Centro Cultural Kirchner Buenos Aires 2015
Brighton Photo Biennial 2010
Ballarat International Biennial, Australia
Tokio International Photography Festival
New York Photo Festival