A global portrait


Argentinean photographer Walter Astrada talks to Priyadarshini Paitandy on capturing the world, one frame at a time.

Ten months, 22 countries, innumerable photographs, and an Enfield for company. That pretty much sums up Walter Astrada’s days. In May 2015, the Argentinean photographer set out on his trusted bike, riding across countries and cities. Starting with Spain, the 42-year-old has travelled across the south of France, north Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Mongolia, South Africa, India and Thailand. There are many more countries on his list and he doesn’t have an end date in mind. “I shoot situations on the streets. People in India love getting their photos clicked,” he smiles. While all the countries have their own charm, he finds Mongolia, Turkey and South Korea the most interesting. His travel adventures sound fascinating. “You can do it too. Just travel and you’re a journalist — you can teach people to write,” he says.

Born in Buenos Aires, he started out as a photographer for a local newspaper. Conflicts, violence against women and social issues form a chunk of his work. He was 15 when he clicked his first picture. Walter does not recollect what it was, but he knows it felt good, and that’s why 27 years later he’s still doing what he loves. That also explains the three World Press Photo Awards he’s won.

In the city as part of the Chennai Photo Biennale, the photographer showcases a selection of his works, part of his travelling with the Enfield series, at Phoenix MarketCity till March 6. Most of them are black-and-white. “There are different countries shot at different times of the day. But in this format, they look alike. This is my way of saying the world is one; only we are trying to create differences,” he adds.

Here’s a pick of six photographs taken over the years that are his favourites.

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