I lived in the islands of the Paraná River Delta in Argentina for three years. Far away from the city, I photographed the community living there and connected with the river, nature and the local people.

Influenced by books and stories about the great Paraná, I began to observe how people live and work in a natural environment where the primary element is water. Every day I crossed the Paraná in a motorboat, meeting island residents here and there—on the wharf, in a store, at the gas station. I started to share the same daily life with the people around me.

I became an islander in order to document the everyday lives of the people in this community on the Delta. Posing on islands illuminated by the full moon, families, fishermen, sailors, loggers, and hunters contributed to my portrait of this island community. I worked with a large-format camera to capture staged nighttime shots that included people, water, sky and vegetation. Each photo required a long exposure that forced my subjects to remain motionless for as long as ten minutes.

By exploring these places through photography, I sought to convey the extraordinary visual and poetic impact of the river as well as the intimate relationship between the Paraná Delta community and their environment.

—Alejandro Chaskielberg

Editors’ note: Alejandro’s work with another great project was singled out by Martin Parr, a juror in our Magnum Photography Awards 2016. Magnum Photos wants to see your work! This year’s Magnum Awards are now open for entries—submit your work for a chance to be recognized by leaders in the photographic community from National Geographic, Aperture, Magnum, LensCulture, and more. You can also check out the jury and prizes for the Magnum Awards 2017 on its Call for Entries page.