Yamal, the edge of the world

CompanyFacultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Photographermartin patricio barrios
PrizeHonorable Mention

What mean these charming little people with cheerful clothes and funny animals compared to the millions of euros of the gas business? For a couple of thousands of years the Nenets have moved their reindeer across the tundra. They found a place to live where the temperature drops to -50 ° C before anyone was interested in this part of the world before anyone knew that this part of the world existed. But now there are those interested in the subsoil. Because there is gas in the ground, a lot of gas. Now, the Nenets are probably at the limit of their existence as reindeer herders. Surrounded by pipes, surrounded by the lure of modernity they are at the limit of the possibilities of existence of their identity. They resist this clash, which seems natural, at least from the perspective of the West, with amazing dignity, with enviable pride. At the edge of the world, in an icy universe, they insist on their right to be that they have always been: reindeer herders. Perhaps the gas business will destroy forever those hard and kind people that for centuries have found a wonderful reason to live where we only see white, where we only feel cold. Maybe not, then these pictures will be not part of the taxonomy of the extinguish but rather the memory of have been with a wonderful people.

About Photographer

Martin Patricio Barrios is “El Marto”. He was born close to Rio de la Plata. He draw, painted, took pictures; he grilled beef, pork, not fish. He lied. He went to and fro and a little further; to the Gimnasia stadium and others. Whererever there was sea. Professor at four universities, researcher, not a pilot. He wanted to be a pilot and he still wants to. He showed a difficulty to be part of and a facility to walk on the edge. He had dogs. He had vertigo. He watered plants. He lost arguments and umbrellas. He has lost every street fight in the last 25 years. He won little and nothing at all. He worked less. He looked out of the window and had a little whisky with no ice in a tequila glass. He stopped believing in drawing, in architecture, in the importance of certain things. He stopped smoking sorrowfully and with nostalgia of an ox. He misses smoking. He misses the wind of the river and climbing to a plane that goes anywhere. He misses smoking on the plane, smoking in a bar, in the morning while he prepares mate. He misses smoking. He loves Czech pencils, German pens, Finnish watches, red shoes, red glasses, his touch screen cell phone, looking at the maps, talking too much, listening too little. He was forced to argue with waiters and call centre operators, and to lie to taxi drivers. He preferred not to wear socks or use pillows and to hate perfumes. He does not understand movies. He still believes that a good letter ends like this: “I hope you have the best moon, the best earth, the best peace. I am Martin.”