For our July issue, we’re heading for Spain. But don’t expect any straw donkeys or sun-and-sangria stereotypes. Instead we want to introduce you to an emerging ‘golden generation’ of photographers who have swiftly risen to international prominence, growing to maturity under the shadow of a worldwide recession that has gripped the Spanish more tightly than their Northern European cousins.
Austerity has hit Spain hard and arts funding has vanished – yet young Spanish photographers are taking the world by storm. Ricardo Cases, Carlos Spottorno, Óscar Monzón, Aleix Plademunt, Julián Barón and – especially – Cristina de Middel have published highly acclaimed photobooks, leading Martin Parr to comment on a “new generation of Spanish photographers that has to be taken into account”. Yet they have all done so without the support of the Spanish photography establishment.
Juan Peces, a Paris-based correspondent for El País, returned to his hometown of Madrid during the opening of PhotoEspaña to talk to some of the key photographers among this emerging generation, together with the curators, designers and publishers who have observed their rise first hand. He finds that the financial crisis, and the lack of institutional support for young photographers, has created a culture of necessity — a do-it-yourself attitude that plays into an instinctive sense of independence and mistrust of authority (after decades of authoritarian rule under General Franco), forcing photographers to set up their own structures, from exhibition spaces to publishing ventures. And if there’s anything that can be taken away from the Spanish experience, it’s an understanding of how their collectives work, because these are central to the emergence of this generation – the vehicle for their drive to make challenging work and be seen.
Alongside Peces’ article, we present new work from nine photographers, many of them shown for the first time at PhotoEspaña – a second wave of projects following the success of books such as Paloma al aire, The Afronauts and Karma. Among them is an extended showing of Ricardo Cases’ new book, El porqué de las naranjas, who is interviewed for the issue, as is a photographer and academic who has been a huge influence on the emerging generation – Joan Fontcuberta.
In addition to our Spanish theme, we focus on this year’s graduates, bringing you our pick of the best from the UK and presenting their work in this month’s Projects section. In Intelligence we talk to Ditto Press, London’s go-to indie book printer, and we get some stats on the selfie phenomenon. In Technology, we review Profoto’s B1 off-camera flash kit, the Spyder4 Elite from Datacolor, and two standard lenses from Sigma and Fujifilm, while in Agenda we pay tribute to the life and work of Roger Mayne.
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