Enric Castellà

?, 0000 – ?, 0000

grupo autores

Virtually nothing is known about the life and miracles of Enric Castellà. The scattered clues he left behind indicate that he worked as a photojournalist for a decade in the early 20th century, between 1905 and 1915. He was one of the most active photojournalists in Barcelona, a prominent member of a prolific generation of photographers who eschewed traditional studio portraiture to focus on current affairs.

No one knows where the photographer Enric Castellà was born, nor even his date of birth or when he died. Aside from his published work, one other piece of information bears witness to his time as a photojournalist: in 1909, he co-founded the Associació de la Premsa Diària de Barcelona [Barcelona Daily Press Association], of which only he and the photographers Frederic Ballell, Josep Badosa and Josep Brangulí were members from the start.

His earliest known credited press photographs were published in the weekly La Ilustración Obrera, with which he began to collaborate in June 1904, initially on a monthly basis and, from the end of September, every week.

Beginning in 1905, he diversified his work. He was a judge for the eclipse photography contest held by the Real Sociedad Colombófila de Cataluña [Royal Pigeon Society of Catalonia] and, for the first time, was listed as the Barcelona representative of La Fotografía: revista mensual ilustrada, published by the Sociedad Fotográfica de Madrid [Photographic Society of Madrid]. That year, he collaborated sporadically with the Madrid-based magazine Nuevo Mundo and the Barcelona-based publications La Hormiga de Oro and El Mundo Científico. He also started two steadier positions at Vida Marítima, until 1912, and Ilustración Artística, until 1915.

In the months of May and June 1906, Castellà published photographs of current events in Cu-Cut! The following year, he began to work with the prestigious La Ilustración Española y Americana, a collaboration that continued until 1912. He also debuted as a contributor to Hojas selectas.

His greatest recognition came in the summer of 1909, as a result of the publication of his photographs of the Setmana Tràgica [Tragic Week, a series of bloody clashes between the Spanish army and workers in Barcelona in July of that year] in La Actualidad. He had been working with the weekly for two years and continued to do so until 1914. The number and regularity of his published photographs there suggest he was the main photographer.

Castellà is the author of the emblematic and best-known photograph of the Setmana Tràgica, a panoramic view of the city of Barcelona in flames taken from the top of the hill of Montjuïc and published in the weekly on 28 August 1909. In October, he also documented the trial of Francesc Ferrer Guàrdia. The following year, La Actualidad again published his work, in its commemorative July issue, featuring it on the cover, in a two-page colourised spread inside, and on two other pages in black and white.

From 1909 to 1913, he was a contributor to La Unión Ilustrada, the most important Andalusian graphic magazine of its day, published in Malaga. The last traces of Castellà the photojournalist can be found in Ilustración Artística and date from 1915. In July that year, he joined the Madrid-based magazine La Esfera, where he focused on portraits of artistic monuments, especially in Andalusia, until 1919.
The very small part of his work known to have survived can be found in the Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona [Photographic Archive of Barcelona], the Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya [National Archive of Catalonia] and private collections.