Humberto Rivas was born in Buenos Aires in 1937. His parents were workering class people and none of his family was engaged in the practice of art.
However, at a very young age, Humberto Rivas showed great interest art. Mostly, he was fascinated by painting and film.
But at first, the young Humberto Rivas was forced to follow the example of his parents, and at the age 14 began to work in a textile factory.
In 1951, at the age of 17 years, Humberto Rivas could finally fulfill his dream to pursue a life as an artist. It was then that he began to study painting and drawing.
Soon after that, he got his first camera, a 35mm Argus with fixed optics.
In 1959, Humberto Rivas enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires. It was in the same year, that Humberto Rivas held his first solo exhibition at the Galería Galatea. But photography was not his only passion. Apart from his studies, he worked as an assistant in an advertising agency where he aquiered knowledge in the field of graphic design.
From the beginning, Humberto Rivas was surrounded with creative people from different fields and learned from them. In this context, it’s important to stress his great interest in all genres of art (film, painting, etc.) and its importance for the development of his photographic style.
In 1960, Humberto Rivas decided to fully devote himself to photography. He became a photographer of the newly founded Instituto Di Tella. This step allowed him better access to camera equipment. However, he never abandoned his other artistic passions. After the closure of the Institute in 1968, Humberto Rivas opened a commercial photography studio. He also studied film for a while.
Shortly after the military coup in 1976, Humberto Rivas left Argentina and moved to Barcelona, Spain. Before that, Humberto Rivas had concentrated mainly in the genre of portraits. But in his new environment, he began to develop and expand his style to landscapes, interiors and “still life”.
Among the photographers who influenced Humberto Rivas most are Richard Avedon, Alfred Stieglitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
At first glance, many of Humberto Rivas’ photos may seem trivial, but a close examination shows that they are very well thought compositions of seemingly random scenes and situations. He does not arrange his scenes, he is not staging anything. He adjusts to the theme, and in doing so, cuts out a small piece of reality transforming it into a work of art for its individual perspective.
In his early years, Humberto Rivas used a 35mm Argus with fixed optics. In 1959 he changed it for a Rolleiflex 6×6.
Humberto Rivas died in 2009.
Official website: Archivo Humberto Rivas