The Gaucho, a symbol of Argentine tradition, is directly related to rural habits

His character changed as the agricultural and farming boundaries expaneded. Known as a rural man and skilled horseman, his origins date back to the 17th Century in the Pampas (plains) and coastal regions in Argentina.

Nomadic and used to lonely habits, he did not have a stable job, nor did he long for it. Every now and then, he would jump into some short, temporary activity. He was self-sufficient and he would trade his earnings to get some products that he wouldn’t get on his own, such as tobacco and alcohol de cana, or some of his apero.

The Gaucho was represented as ignorant, taciturn, sneaky, free, no strings attached, no home or family, lazy, lonely, on the run from the law and sometimes violent. The expansion of agricultural and farming boundaries plus the subsequent addition of new fertile land and the rural redevelopment, introduced the Gaucho, of sedentary habits, into a farm day laborer.

From the 1880s – to the 1930s – the Gaucho is culturally and progressively revalued as a national and traditional symbol. Photography was then a privileged means for the new representation.

Interestingly enough, there are very few photos from gauchos at that time in the foreground. One of the most renowned photographers was Francisco Ayerza, who stood out with his work in the last decade of the 19th Century.