"A good image is created by a state of grace. Grace expresses itself when it has been freed from conventions, free like a child in his early discovery of the reality. The game is then to organize the rectangle."

- Sergio Larrain

b. 1931

d. 2012



Sergio Larrain was born in 1931, in Santiago, Chile. He surrounded himself with music, books, and paintings all his life because of his father, Sergio Larrain Garcia Moreno, a great  connoisseur of art and an architect. Larrain took up photography in 1949, and from then until 1953, he studied forestry at the University of California at Berkeley. He then attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor before setting off to travel throughout Europe and the Middle East. Thus began Larrain’s work as a freelance photographer. He became a staff photographer for the Brazilian magazine O Cruzeiro and in 1956 the Museum of Modern Art in New York bought two of his pictures.  

In 1958, Larrain was given a grant from the British Council that allowed him to produce a series of photographs of London. The same year Henri Cartier-Bresson saw his photographs of street children and suggested that he work for Magnum. Larrain spent two years in Paris, where he worked for international press titles. He became a Magnum associate in 1959 and a full member in 1961. He returned to Chile in 1961 when the poet Pablo Neruda invited him to photograph his house. 

In 1968, he came into contact with Bolivian guru Óscar Ichazo and virtually gave up photography in order to pursue his study of Eastern culture and mysticism, adopting a lifestyle in keeping with his ideals. He devoted himself to spreading knowledge of yoga, writing, painting in oils, and occasionally taking the odd photograph. 

Sergio Larrain continued to live and work in Chile until his death, in the northern mountain town of Ovalle, on February 7, 2012.

Selected works


Vagabond Photographer

Sergio Larrain

A collection of images that show Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain's penchant for the vagabond life

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