Please Be Silent
Please Be Silent
Please Be Silent

Pedro Luis Raota

Please Be Silent

Original Gelatin Silver Photograph

Image dimensions: 19" (L) x 15" (H)
Mounted dimensions: 30" (L) x 24" (H)

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection — $7,500
Please Be Silent
Please Be Silent
Please Be Silent



Original Gelatin Silver photograph by Pedro Luis Raota, “Please Be Silent.” Individually handmade by Raota from 645 format film with fiber-based Chlorobromide photographic paper. Signed and numbered in and edition of 50 in pencil along lower edge and corner-mounted on cotton rag museum board. While the edition was limited to 50, not all 50 in the edition were made.

“This photograph was taken in December 1970 at a Catholic school in Villaguay in the province of Entre Rios, Argentina. The boy was a brother of one of the students, who was planing to take part in a comedy skit. A ceremony was held before the party. I asked the nuns to let the boy walk freely around the place, in the hope I might get an interesting contrast between the nun’s black gowns and the boy’s face. After walking for a while on the rough stones barefoot, the boy started crying. On hearing his cries, the nun suddenly turned round to order him silent until the ceremony finished.” – Pedro Luis Raota


The HD Video of the actual work in question has been provided as a visual condition report. If you would like a written condition report in addition to the HD video, please


Pedro Raota was born in Argentina on April 26, 1934 in a modest country home in the Province of El Chaco. At a young age he sold his bicycle to buy a camera, determined to learn the art of photography. He quickly took up portrait photography in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz and later moved to Villaguary where he enthusiastically set up his own studio. Raota painstakingly made each gelatin silver photograph individually by hand from 6×6 format film. In 1966, he won First Place from Spanish World magazine, which he regarded as his first major award. In 1967, he won a competition held during the Cannes Film Festival, placing second out of 2,500 photographers from around the world. Greatly encouraged, from 1968 on, his awards began to rapidly multiply, including The Condor Trophy from the Argentine Federation of Photography in Buenos Aires and The Best Graphic Photographer in the World, given at La Haya, Holland. He was invited as a Guest of Honor to South Africa, Holland, Venezuela and Spain. In 1972, he received the First Place at the London International Exhibition of Photographic Art. In 1972, he won the Charles Pompidou in Paris, France and the Charles Kingsley trophy in the World Photographic Contest in 1972 and 1976. In 1975, Raota received the Golden Medal at the International Exhibition of Photographic Journalism in the United States, and more importantly, the Pracda 75 in Moscow. This final award gave him the opportunity to spend 45 days photographing in 28 different countries. The resulting work was exhibited at the Modern Art Museum in Buenos Aires eventually his images were shown around the world in countless international group exhibitions, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1975, he won the World Biennial EUROPA-75. Two books of Raota’s photography were published in Switzerland. The first, in 1977, was printed in five languages. He produced his first portfolio in 1979. The National Library in Paris has 60 of his photographs in their gallery. His work is included in the Hall of Fame by the Photographic Society of America. In 1981, Raota founded the Buenos Aires Institute of Photographic Art and oversaw the faculty until his death at the age of 52.


The most popular black and white process of the 20th century was gelatin silver, in which the image consists of silver metal particles suspended in a gelatin layer. Gelatin silver papers are commercially manufactured by applying an emulsion of light-sensitive silver salts in gelatin to a sheet of paper coated with a layer of baryta, a white pigment mixed with gelatin. The sensitized paper, generally fiber-based, is exposed to light through a negative and then made visible in a chemical reducing solution. William Henry Fox Talbot introduced the basic chemical process in 1839, but the more complex gelatin silver process did not become the most common method of black-and-white darkroom photography until the late 1910s. Because the silver image is suspended in a gelatin emulsion that rests on a pigment-coated paper, gelatin silver can be sharply defined and highly detailed in comparison to platinum or palladium, in which the image is absorbed directly into the fibers of the paper.

Cross section of Gelatin Silver paper