Photographers' Blog

YES

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

By Marcos Brindicci

YES.

That’s the word in the Falkland Islands these days.

Islanders held a referendum to stay under British rule and almost unanimously (98.8 percent) voted YES, with 92 percent of voter attendance. YES was also the first picture I took upon arriving in Port Stanley, the word formed with vehicles up on a hillside.

I first came to the Islands exactly one year ago, but the feeling now is different. It feels like the word YES is also in the spirit of its residents, as they seem much more positive towards foreigners and Argentines in general; I get the sense that they separate Argentine people from the Argentine government’s position.

A year ago, it was difficult for me just to talk to some of the islanders. Many Argentine war veterans were coming to visit the islands and they were not at ease about it. But now, they’re receiving journalists from all over, and the attention that they wanted to get, which is the main goal of the referendum. I knew that it was going to be different this time but I was not expecting to witness such a show of their patriotism.

Residents arrived at the polling stations wearing suits, wigs and dresses with the Union Jack colors, and T-shirts embossed with words that spoke their minds. And they were happy to show them and pose for the media.

I did not expect at all that people were going to line up outside the polling station in this kind of weather, changing from rain to sunshine to snowfall and sunshine again, and then rain again, all within an hour.

The conflict turns 30

By Enrique Marcarian

When Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, I tried to reach there on an Argentine Air Force plane from the continental mainland, but due to restrictions imposed by the military government I only reached a port on the Patagonian coast. I was stuck there for a week, but as I was there I managed to photograph what I still remember as one of the saddest moments in the story of that conflict – the return of the ARA Alferez Sobral, the Navy’s rescue tug that had been attacked by British helicopters. On board the boat were survivors with their uniforms torn and trembling in the South Atlantic cold, and eight dead crew members in coffins.

It was only 23 years later, in 2005, that I finally did manage to reach the islands in one of the weekly commercial flights leaving from Chile. That was to be my first coverage of life in the Islands. I was anxious to see how the locals would react to an Argentine photographer taking pictures of them.

My first stop was at a major dart tournament. I entered cautiously trying to be unnoticed, which worked at first while everyone was focused on the dartboards and beer drinking. Once I had a few beers and took a few pictures, a couple of schoolteachers took notice of my nationality. To my surprise, instead of throwing me out they asked me about my country, and complimented me on then-Foreign Minister Guido di Tella for having sent Christmas presents to Falklands children.