Portfolio: Alessandra Sanguinetti

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The two inseparable cousins we see here, 10-year-old Guille (left in main picture) and nine-year-old Belinda, are larking around on their grandmother's farm. They were shot by New-York-based photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti, who has spent much of her career photographing the farming communities of the fertile Argentinian Pampas – where she spent her summers while growing up in Buenos Aires.

But it was while shooting a separate series – depicting the connections between animals and humans – that Sanguinetti came to document the carefree play of these girls. "I've known them since they were very little," she says, "and I was always asking them to move out of the way. Then one day, I started to take photos of them instead."

And in doing so Sanguinetti was drawn into a world of childhood make-believe and fantasy. "I'd photograph them at play, and I started asking them to imagine what their future would be like – and then they'd act it out, like stars of their own life," she says.

The resultant series, The Adventures of Guille and Belinda, charts their lives over the next nine years, beautifully capturing the bonds of childhood. The images on these pages, however, were all shot over the first few years of the project.

"The first two years were joyful," Sanguinetti says. "And part of it for me was living vicariously through them, and being immature." More than a decade on, though, the outside world has caught up; Belinda is now married with a baby, Guille a single mother. "So the series isn't about play any more, but growing up, and working out their identity."

The Brighton Photo Biennial, featuring The Adventures of Guille and Belinda, runs from 6 October to 4 November. Sanguinetti will also be taking part in a five-day workshop in conjunction with Magnum Photos (magnumphotos.com, bpb.org.uk)