In that frigid city, he decided how he would look, that is, the nature of his gaze. And when he returned to Buenos Aires, the contrast was glaring. The city was in the midst of the restoration of democracy after seven years of military rule, and photographers were interested in observing public life, in politics. Alberto felt like a fish out of water, and so he knew just what to look at. He envisioned photography as matter, as material; it has no need for poses or lofty symbols, it can even forego human action altogether. He imagines photography as a living body, with no form or identity, that can feed on anything at all: a group of drab apartment buildings, a cup of tea, a rug, a texture, a segment of the Casa Rosada (the seat of Argentina’s executive branch), a friend at a nightclub, an arm, another artist’s work.
Alberto divided the waters in Argentine photography. He took flight from style, from the themes that run deep in the country; he tried to conceive of photography in the most common terms possible. He can go from being a meticulous flâneur to a family photographer. His work does not bear an authorial mark, but the mark of many authors all at once. In the library in his studio, you can find books of popular photographers from the United States—nothing strange: Avedon’s celebrities mingle with Eggleston’s suburbs, David Hopper’s silent apartments with Walker Evans’s lined faces. These affinities tie him to art and distance him from vocation.
In 1995, he began directing the Fotogalería on the upper level of the Centro Cultural Rojas (the images of the nineties paved the way from that venue in the Buenos Aires garment district). His vision was no longer solitary. His curiosity unfurled in the work of the young people he invited to exhibit but—indeed mostly—in the critiques he directed. Photography’s relevance began to exceed the documentary; it moved closer to the terrain of contemporary art in Argentina than it ever had before.