Their Only Portrait
The Photo Mission in South America
After leaving Buenos Aires, Federico Cabrera traveled with his camera and bike through the most remote lands of South America. His mission? To shoot portraits of the general population. In most cases, this would be their first and only portait. The result, “Their Only Portrait” becomes an invaluable time capsule for these people.
Even as a child, Federico Cabrera from Buenos Aires, dreamt of exploring Africa one day with a camera for National Geographic. After gaining a university degree and a successful career in foreign trade, the 45-year-old Argentine decided to leave everything behind to follow his passion of photography.
“A few years ago I came upon the Burning House Project by Foster Huntington. Hungtington asked people what they would save first, if their house was on fire.
Because I almost lost my house to fire, I was very interested in this project and found that the most important things for me, right after my dog, are photos and hard-disks.”
The passionate bikepacker takes this opportunity, riding with his bike and a camera on the legendary Route 40, to shoot portraits of the impoverished population living along the route. His small portable photo studio allows him to leave each family with a priceless family photo. He also provides those most in need with portable solar lights.
Anyone traveling for months far from civilization, has to rely on their equipment 100%, so Federico has made several preparatory trips. He has opted for a plus-size bike, which is perfectly suited for rough terrain and extremely durable. To help his body withstand the rigors of long distance bike travel, Federico has chosen our SMC3 Saddle, GP3 Grips and the BA3 backpack.
Rigors of Wilderness
In southern Argentina there are only few villages and even fewer paved roads. In Tierra del Fuego, Federico rides along the coast, but there are no roads. The 45-year-old Argentinian rides hours across grasslands and low running river beds. His route was the suggestion of the local people.
Abundant lodging is non-existant in southern Argentina. Always prepared, Federico has his tent and meals with him. Sleeping the nights under the stars in a tent is always fun, but when a local offered him a roof over his head, the adventurer of course doesn’t say no.
“I am pleased to provide, with the help of donors and volunteers, a photographic memory, which is invaluable for local families that I meet on the road.”
Their Only Portrait
For Federico, it is not just about traveling through sparsely populated areas. He respects the local population and way of life, and wants to give something back. As common as a personal photo is to most of us, this isn’t the case for many Argentines. The globetrotter has his camera and a portable printer, ready to give the people their first and only printed out family portrait.