Joan Rovira

Barcelona, 1895 – Barcelona, 1930

grupo autores

Joan Rovira was born in Sants (Barcelona) in 1895 and died suddenly of a heart attack  at the age of only thirty-five years. Together with Gabriel Casas, he founded Foto-Sport, a photographic agency through which they supplied images to a handful of publications: the specialist magazine La Jornada Deportiva, the illustrated weekly Mundo Gráfico and Crónica, as well as the Barcelona newspapers La Vanguardia and La Publicitat, the cultural magazine Mirador, and the newspapers Excelsior de Bilbao and El Heraldo de Madrid, among others. He focused on current affairs, specialising in sports photojournalism. Cycling was his preferred subject and he covered the Volta Ciclista in Catalonia every year from 1914 until his death.

With close links to Sants and strong Catalanist convictions during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, he founded a Catalan school, which he maintained practically on his own. In one of the obituaries written about him, the journalist Domènec de Bellmunt, pseudonym of Domènec Pallerola, with whom he had shared many articles, highlighted this aspect: "We have to tell our readers who was Joan Rovira Girau and why we have the duty to pay him the posthumous tribute of our respect and admiration. Married, father of two children, Rovira made his living from his work in photojournalism and some advertising and yet maintained a Catalan school in Sants with his own resources for six years. When the winds of dictatorship dispersedmany opportunist Catalanists, poor Rovira, Rovira the worker, Rovira the reporter, who did not aspire to any high office, shored up with his own resources the Catalan school of Sang Nova, to which he gave one hundred fifty to two hundred pesetas per month. Do you know what such an effort means for a worker who lives on his daily wages? It simply represents a dose of formidable Catalanity, it represents an unlimited optimism, it represents a very exemplary good faith that is a stimulus and an encouragement in times of doubt and skepticism in the collective will of our people."

Rovira left behind a widow and two children. In the months following his death, the Union of Sports Journalists, the Professional Union of Journalists and various organisations in the neighbourhood of Sants engaged in a campaign to support his family.

His archive has not been located, and one can only see his pictures in the pages of newspapers and magazines of the time.