Latin American Fotografia Spotlight: Claudia Sandoval Romero

By David Schonauer   Wednesday November 6, 2013

Look at a map of Colombia, and to the east of Bogota you will see a vast area without cities—a sparsely-populated blank to cartographers, perhaps, but an important ecological and economic region covering over a quarter of the country’s land mass. This is the Orinoquía Region, part of the watershed of the Orinoco River also known simply as the “Eastern Plains,” from the Spanish Llanos Orientales. It is an area of savannahs best known for the abundance of cattle that are raised on huge ranches there, and a distinct breed of cowboys who ride their horses over the often-flooded plains while barefoot. What the guachos and Pampas are to Argentina, notes one Colombia tourism website, the Llaneros and Los Llanos are to Colombia. They have their own culture, music, and food, and, as Colombia-born photographer Claudia Sandoval Romeroputs is, their  own “fashion principles.”

Sandoval’s portrait of one of these men earned her a spot among the winners of the first annual Latin American Fotografíacompetition.

“I wanted to create a series where the Colombian diversity was portrayed. The image of the cowboy belongs to this project,” Sandoval says of the portrait, which was taken with a Canon EOS Mark I DSLR in 2011. “The man in the photo is a worker at one of the huge cattle farms in the region. I wanted to celebrate his distinctive style, such as wearing golden pieces on his teeth. This delicate detail contrasted with his appearance as a tough man, making him a sort of icon of the Latin-American cowboy.”


Sandoval’s work has taken her well beyond the plains of Colombia; she has traveled to Europe and Asia for an overarching personal project she calls “My World.” She has also begun a series portraying the complex position of foreign women in European society—specifically Austria, where she currently lives while pursuing a Masters degree in Critical Studies and a PhD in Philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.


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Dispatches from Latin America