PhotoEspa̱a РA View from Spain

A report from the scene from reader Guillermo Shelley

Here is my brief from what is going on photography-wise in sunny Spain.

As your readers already know since you posted it on your site, May 30 was 1, 2, 3, GO for the tenth annual PhotoEspaña .

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I took some time off this morning to go visit some of the shows: I traced myself a route on the map and sped from one to another, I gulped 8 and am still digesting. There’s some 50 more.

Year after year, this photo festival is gaining in importance and it usually provides a wonderful opportunity to get to see some of the great masters together with upcoming talents. This year, for instance, we are lucky to be able to see an extensive Man Ray show (It was one of my choices for this morning). The man was absolutely amazing, his work is still so much on the cutting edge. We also get to see Silvia Plachy’s largest European retrospective, a thorough Andres Serrano show, Fatal Meningitis and all, Bruce Davidson’s Central Park pictures in what apparently is their first public show (which I could not get into today as visiting hours are somewhat limited, not good), Sebastiao Salgado’s African series (which I am going to skip as I am not a big fan of his, but he IS one of the Masters), and many others.

In my expedition this morning, I let myself into a show organized by the French Fondation HSBC pour la Photographie who promote new talents. They hung images by Julia Fullerton-Batten and Mathew Pillsbury. I am sure many of your readers are familiar with Fullerton-Batten’s work, but to see her images full-size is a worthwhile treat. Mathew Pillsbury’s work is lesser known, and it demands a certain willingness to get into it, at first it made me think: ‘please no, not another series at the Museum of Natural History (whether Paris or New York).’ But a more careful look allows for a lot of magic to come out of his work, especially the images of private spaces.

Oddly enough -or perhaps not so- my next visit also included some Museum of Natural History, this time by the hands of Slater Bradley who introduced an astronaut in the Museum only to find himself totally out of place. This was my fourth show of the morning (I had also visited Ordinary Citizens, a series of mugshots of victims of the Stalin era collected by David King) , and they all seemed to be about people who do not belong to their time and space (Bradley also showed his Kurt Cobain), this was adding some weight on my shoulders.

Later, however, the Man Ray show, made me ecstatic -with control. His work is so much about Future. Let me cite from his texts: ‘Confusion is to be desired’ and his epitaph: ‘Unconcerned but not indifferent’.

Afterwards I went over to see the Plachy and Serrano shows, they were obliged visits, but since they are so very well know, I gained not much from them, even if their work is unquestionable; maybe I was already tired by then.

As you can see, the range of materials being shown is quite impressive. I am going to make an effort to go see Lyn Davis’ images of Greenland as well as Stratos Kalafatis’ Greek work and I am definitely going to try to make it to Thomas Struth’s conference at the Prado Museum were some of his photos are hanging.

Maybe you or your readers ought to drop by one year and enjoy Madrid and the photo shows.

Cheers from Madrid,

Guillermo Shelley

BTW: I wore my Photo-Induced T-shirt to the shows as one arrived over the mail yesterday (I guess owing to my replying to your weekly giveaways. Many thanks!)



Guillermo Shelley

We’d like to thank Guillermo for this report. Well done, sir.

If you have a photo event happening in your part of the world, let us know and we’ll be happy to post a report.

Cheers!
Damon Webster

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