Patagonia | Mustafa Abdulaziz: Cowboy Stories
Mustafa Abdulaziz, Cowboy in Mountains, Patagonia Cowboy series. 2008
“The power of the photograph can shine a light of knowledge and inspiration into places where there was once only darkness,” says photographer Mustafa Abdulaziz. Coming from a Dutch/Afro-Caribbean heritage, Abdulaziz’s work centers on “people and cultures whose lives may not contain the drama of spot news or the visceral power of war and conflict, but whose daily struggles and ways of life are changing as our world moves into this new century.”
Such was the impetus that drew him to the people of Patagonia, specifically, the Patagonian cowboys, who roam with their cattle in an existence that has changed little since the 1900s. Abdulaziz was recently awarded the top prize in the “People” category for his “Patagonia Cowboys” series in En Foco’s People/Places/Things international photography competition, sponsored by Canson Infinity.
Located at the bottom of South America, Patagonia’s vague territory sits between Argentina and Chile and is geographically the closest point to the bottom of the world.
While breathtaking landscapes, defined by sweeping mountain ranges and vast plains, take center stage in Abdulaziz’s series, he also documents Patagonia’s commercialization and the ensuing tensions of a culture rapidly changing and trying to hold onto its traditions.