Xavier Miserachs "Festes de Gràcia, Barcelona", 1964
Miserachs Barcelona presents an exciting journey through time, an adventure in which the phantasmagorical character of the photographs is sometimes pure archaeology and at other times the present day. In the exhibition the images of Barcelona, blanc i negre come alive, constantly changing like the continual transformative energy of the city and its people. As with the photobook, the exhibition Miserachs Barcelona presents urban experiences that are as fluid and instantaneous as the photos, forever incomplete and imperfect, yet retaining the ephemeral and resisting oblivion.
In September 1964 the photographer Xavier Miserachs, a native of Barcelona, published his major work, Barcelona, blanc i negre, a photobook bringing together nearly four hundred of his photographs. At the age of only 27, he was already a veteran photographer, a member of the Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya (Photographic Association of Catalonia) since 1952, who had exhibited and won prizes as an amateur photographer. From 1961, Miserachs worked professionally in advertising, photojournalism and, above all, street photography, ‘the pleasure of wandering around trying to represent what to me seemed distinctive and significant about the place’.
Miserachs participated in some exhibitions, but believed the best place for photos was in the pages of magazines and books. He wanted to make ‘a strictly photographic book of free style and content’, composed of images forming a set that can be read and watched like a film or novel. That is a photobook, the model that at that time defined the history of photography, marked by the publication of masterpieces such as Life is Good & Good for You in New York by William Klein (1956) and The Americans by Robert Frank (1958).
Photobooks construct photography’s own story, distinct from that told by the market and by museums. A story closer to life than to art, where we don’t encounter photos in museums, but in advertisements, commercial brochures, family albums, magazines, photobooks and virtual clouds where computer files are stored. Luckily, as the concept of the artistic constantly changes, the best photobooks are increasingly considered artworks in their own right, for their unique combination of high and low culture, and their ability to build complex narratives in the manner of film or literature.
A cargo de Horacio Fernández, comisario de la exposición
A talk with Martin Parr
By Horacio Fernández
Seminar curated by Horacio Fernández
Ruta de autor