Ramon Claret Artigas arrived in Barcelona when he was two weeks old, and lived in the city until his death at Rambla de Santa Mònica in 1965. Claret is known primarily for his dedication to sports photojournalism, a field in which he is an undisputed pioneer and an inescapable influence. His uninterrupted career spanned more than fifty years, from his first credited image in the sports magazine Stadium in 1912, to his last published in El Mundo Deportivo in 1961. He started out photographing the sports that he himself practiced – swimming, rowing, and sailing – and later came to master all kinds of sporting events.
According to his own account, he began working as a professional photojournalist around 1908 or 1909, providing images to Alessandro Merletti and Josep Brangulí. Three years later, in September 1912, he took his first steps as a freelancer for Stadium, which described him as “leading specialist” in nautical photography. He joined the Union of Sports Journalists, founded in 10 November 1913, as member number fourteen.
His specialisation also led him to produce photographic reports for organisations such as the Barcelona Swimming Club, to win several competitions, and sometimes also to sit on juries. A lover of motor racing, he always travelled by car, and aside from covering the car races in Catalonia and the rest of Spain and Portugal, he also worked as a commercial photographer for some car brands.
Claret was also a precursor in the field of aerial photography. By 1920 he had published an aerial image in El Mundo Deportivo, and five years later he launched a collection of postcards with Josep Gaspar. From 1924 to 1927, the two sports journalists teamed up under the name Gasper-Claret, and virtually monopolised the pages of La Jornada Deportiva and Grafic Sport.
During the Republican years, Claret was something of an institution in the world of sports photojournalism. On 4 July 1934, his colleagues at El Mundo Deportivo organised a dinner tribute to the man who was by then the doyen of the editorial department. Very little is known about his activities during the civil war. From August 1936, there is a record of his membership of the Agrupació Professional de Periodistes (APP), as photojournalist with El Mundo Deportivo. In March 1937, the paper switched from a daily to a weekly publication, and most of the photographs were sourced from foreign publications or uncredited portraits. From 12 September, it ceased to be published. It is not known how Claret made a living during that time.
El Mundo Deportivo returned to the newsstands on 31 December 1939, and two months later, Claret’s photo credit reappeared. During Franco’s dictatorship, he also occasionally contributed to Marca and Blanco y Negro, Esport, Destino, and Vida Deportiva. When he retired in 1961, the city’s journalists organised a celebration for his golden anniversary in the profession. Four years later he died in Barcelona.
Ramon Claret’s photographic legacy is deposited with the Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya, in a collection with his erstwhile partner Joan Bert i Vila, and the latter’s son, Joan Bert i Padreny, also a photojournalist.