Friday 23rd January 2009
Buenos Aires, Argentina

“It was a sweltering summer day in Argentina. After a day of touring the city, taking in the culture and atmosphere I was making my way back to my hotel down the Avenue de Mayo, one of the main streets in central Buenos Aires. In the distance I started to hear noises, at first it sounded like a distant drum beat, perhaps from a car stereo, then it grew and grew until I started to hear whistles, chanting and an ever growing drum beat. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I suddenly found out. As I reached a four way crossing in the road a crowd emerged from the right of me, they were wearing red and had banners and other protest paraphernalia. At this moment I remembered something I’d often read in travel guides:

“You should always avoid large protests or public gatherings when visiting foreign cities for your own safety”.

After a moments consideration I decided to stay and see what would unfold. I had my camera and I started to film and photograph the situation. A second wave of protesters emerged from the left, then a third from the front and finally a group from behind. Even if I wanted to leave I wouldn’t have been able to. I felt excited and fuelled by adrenaline; it was like nothing else I had ever experienced.

I was addicted from the very beginning, I knew at any moment the riot police could charge in and I could have been caught up in the melee, but I was almost in a trance like state, like I had discovered something, a part of me that had laid dormant for my whole life and at that moment, in those surroundings it was awoken. The images I captured that afternoon weren’t the refined and classic reportage photography I capture today, but they have a sense of the moment I began my love affair with reportage photography, and for that they will also be a very special series to me”.

- Reportage Photography and Photojournalism by London Photographer Louis Martins
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