Josep Maria Co de Triola

Barcelona, 1884 – Barcelona, 1965

grupo autores

Sport was the axis that marked the vital activity of Josep M. Co de Triola: because he practised it, he disseminated it, he narrated it and, obviously, he portrayed it. As a fan of mountain sports -especially caving in which he was a pioneer- and fascinated by the motor -he was one of the initiators of the aviation and the motor racing-, he became a well known figure during the first three decades of the 20th century due to his relationship with all kinds of sports organisations and celebrations. His signature was one of the most famous ones in the field of the press in a double sided manner, as an editor (signing with his name and the pseudonyms Passavolant and Obicuo) and as a photo-journalist.

Son of a landowner from Arenys de Munt, a photography enthusiast from who he inherited fortune and hobby, Co grew up and lived in Barcelona except for a period of time in his youth that he spent in Paris. He focused his professional activity on journalism and on managing a photography shop called La Fotografía Moderna [Modern Photography], located in the current street Sant Jaume, very popular amongst the residents of Barcelona.

As of 1903 he is member of the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya [the Travellers's Centre of Catalonia] (CEC) where he promoted the sections of mountain sports and photography, apart from joining the governing bodies of the organisation. In 1910 he was appointed delegate of the Societat d'Atracció de Foraster [Society for the Attraction of Foreigners] in Asturias. His passion for the mountains and hiking also led him to be connected to the birth of the Minyons Escoltes de Catalunya [Catalan Boys Scouts] movement and the construction of the Xalet de La Molina [Chalet in La Molina] during the 20's.

His motor fascination led him to join the Aeroclub de Catalunya [Catalan Flying Club] and the Reial Automòbil Club [Royal Motor Club] (R.A.C.) from the beginning, becoming member of the press committee of the Moto Club [Motorcycle club] and a key figure in the construction of the racing circuit in Sitges.

With regards to community-based initiatives in the field of journalism he was the founder of the Sindicat de Periodistes Esportius [Sports Journalist's Trade Union] in 1911, a union which he chaired between January 1919 and December 1926. In 1921 he chaired the press committee of the Consell de les Olimpíades [Olympic Games' Council], entity that had as its objective organising Olympic Games in Barcelona, mission in which he took an active part. He also belonged to the Associació Catalana de la Prensa [Catalan Press Association], the Comitè de Premsa Esportiva [Sports Press Committee] and the Comitè de la Casa de la Premsa [House of the Press' Committee] established for the World Exhibition in 1929.

Driving force behind the Stadium magazine, where he collaborated from the beginning, a regular signature in La Jornada Deportiva or El Explorador, stringer for Los Deportes and contributor in the cultural magazine D'Ací d'allà where he wrote on sports. In the daily press he was the sports editor at La Veu de Catalunya, newspaper where he also published some articles on photography. As a writer he published the book Excursionisme [Hiking] (1916) and a guide to the Valle de Aran in 1927.

His pictures, the great majority of which where related to the sports although sporadically he took some that related to current political information, were regular in the specialised media where he wrote but also in the general press; apart from that they were exhibited at different exhibitions and were the material support to the talks that he carried out. Since 1907 one of the regular activities of Co can be documented: he gave talks on topics such as caving, hiking or aviation, where he would show his pictures.

With regards to aviation it is worth noting the picture that he took in 1920 when he was the guest of honour   for the first commercial flight between Barcelona and Mallorca, a journey that he portrayed from the air, a practise in which he was one of the pioneers. In 1923 he carried out a series of talks around different aspects of photography, such as the art of photographing or the obtaining of outdoors pictures, talks that due to his popularity and prestige in the subjects were being extensively announced in the media of that time.

During the republican years he continued as editor of La Veu de Catalanya, he became connected to the Unión Catalana Republicana [Catalan Republican Union] and, although with less intensity, he carried on photographing all kinds of sports competitions.

As of 1939 his public activity diminished significantly, confining himself to writing articles in El Mundo Deportivo and Caza y Pesca alongside organising the “Calendario de Caza y Pesca” and taking part in the Federación Regional de Pesca [Regional Fishing Federation], due to the fact that he had become a huge enthusiast of hunting and fishing during that period. He died in Barcelona in 1965.

Acknowledgements: 

Josep María Co, Sandra Co.