Only the pages of the press and a few clues leave proof of the existence of the graphic reporter Antonietti, a steady signature in the press of Barcelona during the first decades of the past century. A professional who, in addition to photojournalism, created images for postcards and managed a gallery-shop where exposures of photos and paintings were carried out.
Antonietti family came to Barcelona from Italy in the middle of the decade of the 1870es. Alessandro was the second born son of a humble family that lived in the 5th District and already since adolescence he connected to circles close to the illustrated proletariat and the laicized petty bourgeoisie of Barcelona.
His first steps in the field of photography are linked to the educator Pau Vila and the school Horaciana. Between 1906 and 1912 he was in charge of documenting different cultural activities promoted by the school, such as trips to the nature and exhibitions of the drawings that the pupils made.
At the same time, he was inspired to try out his luck as a photojournalist providing his clichés to different newspapers and magazines. From the first decade of the century the photo album that he made during the “Tragic Week", a series of bloody confrontations between the Spanish Army and the working classes of Barcelona during the last week of July 1909, is of particular interest as well.
The Antonietti signature appears, more or less regularly, in the magazine La Campana de Gràcia, in the magazine La Hormiga de Oro, the illustrated supplement of the newspaper El Diluvio, in the newspaper La Tribuna, in the magazine La Ilustració Catalana and in its monthly supplement Feminal until the year of 1915. That same year, from time to time, he also worked as photographer for the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, and, some months later, envisaging new professional opportunities, the photographer moved to Palma de Mallorca to live.
From his island retreat, Antonietti published in the daily newspapers in several occasions, as well as he achieved selling some photos to the magazine El Viajero. From that point on he entered into a phase of constant travelling depending on the assignments that he received. In the year of 1919 for example, he went all over the north of the Iberian Peninsular making postcards of buildings and landscapes.
During the spring of 1920, based in Barcelona again, he almost didn’t publish anything in the media and decided to change his course of life, although he didn’t leave the profession completely. Thus in 1923 he opened up a gallery-shop dedicated to photography and arts, the Galería Fotográfica Antonietti on the street Banys Nous, 22. The establishment soon gained a certain reputation amongst the photography circles of Barcelona; although over time he focused on organising pictorial exhibitions.
Ricard Coll Antonietti