Primitive Style: Fashion photography and constructions of indigeneity in Argentina

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This paper examines representations of race in Huellas (2000), a calendar by Argentinian fashion photographer Gaby Herbstein in which fashion models represent different indigenous cultures of Argentina. Although Huellas allegedly attempts to celebrate Amerindian communities and criticise Argentina’s racial politics, the photographs reinforce stereotypical constructions of indigeneity through the reproduction of white fantasies of possession and mastery. However, I argue that the images allow an additional reading as a site of ambivalence in which the possibility of a critique of Argentina’s racism can emerge. This is because the camp performance of indigeneity by the fashion models and the absence of the real Amerindian body expose the models’ whiteness, thus de-naturalising the racist politics that positions white as a neutral and as norm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125
Number of pages134
JournalRheinsprung 11. Zeitschrift für Bildkritik
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • indigeneity
  • latin america
  • fashion
  • aesthetics
  • amerindian
  • photography


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