by Isaac Allen
Niños en casting, a photographic series by Marcel Antelo shot between 2006 and 2009, is a compelling and strikingly real set of portraits of rejected child models. It recently opened at the Teatro de la Ribera in La Boca.
The series is comprised of “model kids” that were rejected from a casting for an ad campaign for a children´s clothing line in which Antelo was hired to photograph. The photographs are presented in color, arranged in diptych format with 10 prints in all. Viewing the series from right to left, from the salon entrance to the theatre doors, the arrangement maintains a very rational and concise stream.
Antelo took the photos with the use of two cameras; a digital one for the commercial shots and an analogical one for the medium format portraits of the kids; she combined another project of making photos of plants in pots to portray aesthetically the “sometimes cold,” process of model selection.
Antelo explains, ““the developing psychic structure of these children was very likely exposed over and over again by their parents (I mean, almost none of them would have gone on their own) to the obvious tension of a selection process where they ended up excluded.”
To the naked eye the comparison to make between the forms of the photographed children and their vegetal counterpoints is very easy; they are similar in shape, size and expression. As a concept the series is visually clear. She combines the act of the growth and nurturing of a child, the growth of a child as an adolescent. The plants themselves have only just begun to grow and reflect the age of the children. The facial expressions of the models is represented in the colour and the form of the photographed plant.
Taking the first photograph of the series, which also happens to be the largest, we see a young girl with her hands by her side striking a placid pose with her left hand curled up. This is showing the viewer her anxiety and lack of confidence infront of the camera. The main vein of the series that Antelo wanted to articulate. This body language is reflected in the slumped and weak structure of the evergreen plant used as her juxtaposition.
You can visit Niños en Casting through the end of August at the Teatro de la Ribera, Mondays from 10 to 4pm or Tuesday – Sunday from 10 to 8pm, in La Boca, Avenida Don Pedro de Mendoza 1875.