The gaucho (cowboy) is a celebrated figure in Argentinian culture. He is the link to the wild, rural past of a rapidly urbanizing society. ((More than a third of the total population lives in Buenos Aires and less than 1 in 10 citizens now live in rural areas.)) He is the pre-European Argentinian, a relic of a time when the people were proudly untouched by outside influence. He is the pure and gallant icon of a complicated history - forever roaming the plains, providing for his family and defending his land.
The modern Argentinian sees himself in the gaucho. He may have moved to the city to work in an office building but he retains his gaucho spirit: proud and noble, self-reliant and generous, courteous but fiercely defiant if challenged.
And yet, the gaucho is no mere frozen stereotype. These men still exist, albeit in far smaller numbers, and I recently got to spend some time in their natural habitat.
I only had about an hour on the ranch, but in that short time I took as many photos as I could. Theirs is a fascinating way of life. Simple, rustic, and fulfilling. These are happy people. They work hard but enjoy a good, rich life in return. They've simply found no reason to adapt to a country that's changing all around them. I can't blame them.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m the luckiest guy I know. But these gauchos have it pretty good too.