Jaime Villaseca

Jaime Villaseca (1949) obtained his Bachelor in Fine Arts with mention in Painting from the University of Chile, Santiago.

Villaseca became interested in photography in the 1960s, reading American publications such as Life, Look and Camera. Self-taught, Villaseca started to experiment both with composition in his photographic work and in the dark room. Over time he became known as one of the best printers in Santiago, often printing the works of his contemporaries such as that of renown artists Paz Errazuriz and Leonora Vicuña.

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A founding member of the Advertising Photographers’ Association of Chile, FOTOP, he worked both as a commercial and a fine art photographer all his life. In the historical context of Chilean photography from the 70s and 90s, Villaseca is best known as one of the founding member of the seminal Independent Photographers Association (AFI) (Asociación de Fotógrafos Independientes) who, from 1981 to 1993, collectively built a visual testimony of the Pinochet years through powerful and arresting images. AFI’s most memorable images were later featured in Susan Meiselas acclaimed book ‘Chile from Within’, published in 1990.

In 1979, Villaseca made a poignant series titled ‘Clausuras’ (Closures) which spoke of the heavy political climate that dominated Chile in the 70s and 80s. Walking through the city, he photographed urban architectural openings permanently condemned and closed off with rocks or wood planks. This series of urban portraits poignantly expressed the sense of angst and oppression of a people with no way out. ‘Clausuras’ was exhibited in 1979 at the British Cultural Institute in Santiago. Besides his social documentary work, Villaseca’s personal interest as a fine art photographer is mostly concerned with landscape and nature, often drawing parallels between nature and the human condition.

Exhibited individually and collectively in Chile and abroad, Villaseca’s work has been acquired by the National Museum of Fine Arts in Chile and is part of international photographic collections with a strong focus on Latin America.