A collaborative exhumation of the graphic memory of Catalonia
reportersgrafics.net is an online platform that aims at promoting in-depth knowledge and the dissemination of the astonishing legacy of the photography of the Catalan press. A legacy that until today has been unknown to the general public, fairly explored by social research and put in a shadowy corner with regards to the cultural politics of our country.
The starting point is centred on a presentation of the life and work of the pioneer photojournalists, the first three generations that practised the profession in Barcelona between 1900 and 1939, and, at the same time, review the publications in which these graphic reporters collaborated during their professional careers. With regards to the papers and magazines from Barcelona and the rest of the Spanish State, it is also a way of recovering the journalistic heritage which practically disappeared in 1939.
With the exception of few cases, were are dealing with concealed lives and works, torn up by the Civil War and the Franco regime: imprisonments, exiles, purging, confiscated, destroyed or vanished archives, as well as the explicit prohibition of continuing to practise the profession unless agreeing with the regime. A profession which, paradoxically, all of the photographers now revived had contributed to creating and strengthening with their effort, their hands and their cameras.
The photographic material presented, by large unpublished, was during the first decades of the 20th Century one of the primary sources of information for the citizens with regards to the very latest affairs of Barcelona. On top of that, today it is, as a whole, one of the best methods of approaching the social, political and cultural history of the city during this period. A huge window, open to the memory.
The historical investigation, based on archival work and work in newspaper and periodicals libraries, as well as through direct testimonies -above all amongst the family members of the graphic reporters- is the point of departure of this platform. We started to research the theme in 2010, without complete consciousness of the possible scope that the project might have. Nonetheless, at this point, due to the amount of material that we have been able to recollect, and the number of lines of research that have been unfolded, we are convinced that it will have a long itinerary.
Despite of the great economic difficulties entailed in the development, we have always felt encouraged by the families. For the most part, nobody had taken any interest in the lives of their fathers and grandfathers. As social researchers, to travel through virgin or almost virgin territories is priceless.
reportersgrafics.net is a web space where we will be making public, in an educative and synthesised way, the information gathered with regards to the Catalan graphic report profession, in accordance with the progress of the research. But it is also a working tool in the long term, in our opinion essential. It operates on top of a data base which serves to arrange and manage a volume of information which keeps getting bigger.
During this first phase the web page is structured around two major sections: PHOTOGRAPHERS, which contains a brief biographic profile, an exhibition of the work and personal documentation of each of the reviewed photojournalists; and, PUBLICATIONS, where you will find information on a great part of the newspapers and magazines from the period that incorporated photographic illustrations in their pages.
Periodically, and in accordance with the progress of the research, the data base and the content available online will increase with new names and new relevant information regarding the authors and the publications. We don't rule out opening up new sections, of exploratory character, in the future in order to present graphic materials and other documents, selected thematically.
reportersgrafics.net is one of the formalizations of the transmedia research project THE VEILED IMAGE that the Observatori de la Vida Quotidiana [Observatory of the Everyday Life] (OVQ) have carried out since 2010. Coordinated by the historian Pablo González and the anthropologist Andrés Antebi, the initiative rely on the active participation of recognised professionals from the worlds of journalism, graphic design, web programming and the visual arts.
The team that has been working on the platform in this first phase is as follows:
Coordination: Teresa Ferré, Pablo González Morandi
Research, documentation and text: Andrés Antebi Arnó, Teresa Ferré, Pablo González Morandi
Graphic design and photo retouching: Roger Adam
Programming: Roberto Serrano
Audiovisual: Laia Manresa, María Romero García
Photographic reproduction: Jordi Calafell Garrigosa (AFB)
English translation: Martin Lundsteen, Nuria Rodriguez
Having said that, this project would not have possible without the collaboration of tens of people who have been helping us out during all these years, providing knowledge, documentation, new clues, advice, or constructive criticism.
The names and surnames of the families of the graphic reporters are listed in the acknowledgement section of each of the authors' monographic pages. They have opened a lot more than just the doors to their homes.
We would also like to express our sincere gratitude for their help and contribution, to Maria Mena, Montserrat Ruiz, Jordi Serchs and Rafel Torrella from the Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona; to Merche Fernández, Imma Navarro and Lluís Saura from the Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya; to Emili Balsera, Mireia Buenaventura, Mónica Callejón, Laura Coll, Borja Gandul, Patrícia Jacas, Joaquim Molina, Cristina Moreno, Inés Nieto, Anna Santamaría, Angels Solà, Xavier Tarraubella, Alba Torreblanca and Helena Vilarasau from the Arxiu Històric de la Ciutat de Barcelona; to Berenguer Vidal from the Arxiu Fotogràfic del Centre Excursionista de Catalunya; to Isabel Ortega from the Biblioteca Nacional de España; to the photographer Lucía Antebi, to the lawyer Josep Cruanyes, to the historians Blanca Giribet, Núria F.Rius and Maria Encarnació Soler; to the historian Públio López Mondéjar and to the journalist, Ernest Alòs.
In the end, the aim of the platform is to take advantage of the potentialities of Internet and the social networks in order to stimulate, in the long term, the collaboration between all of those interested in knowing the history of the graphic journalism, be they devotees to photography, students or professionals in the different branches of the world of the image.
(c) The images and the written contents that is being reproduced in this web page are subject to the intellectual property law and can thus not be reproduced, edited or anything else without the explicit authorization of the authors or inheriting owners of the rights.