Monographic course led by Carmelo Vega

After the Second World War Spain began to shape up as a privileged tourist destination. In the mid-1940s the creation of the State Tourist Office set out to generate an authentic tourist industry via ministerial campaigns employing slogans like "Beauties of Spain" and "Spain is different." At the time, photography was undoubtedly one of the finest instruments for bringing the dominant tourism-related debates to the attention of the public. This incipient tourist industry's need to avail itself of an up-to-date repertoire of images of Spain enabled many photographers, both Spanish (Kindel, Francesc Català-Roca, Ramón Dimas, Francisco Ontañón, Carlos Pérez Siquier, Antonio Campañá, and Nicolás Muller, of Hungarian origin but resident in Madrid after 1948) and foreign (Arielli, Josip Ciganovic), to devote part of their activity to the creating of reportages or bodies of work intended for publication in books to do with tourism, advertising posters and tourist postcards.

This course seeks to explore photography's contribution within this context. How photographers intervened in order to consolidate or renew an iconographic tradition subtended by nineteenth-century travel literature and illustration, and in what way they contributed to projecting a "different" image of the country from a tourist perspective. Other themes will be a specific reading in terms of photography of the different tourist programs developed by institutions like the Ministry of Information and Tourism, and the task of stimulating and supporting tourism and photography in Spain undertaken by publishing houses like Destino, Noguer, and Clave.


2, 3, and 4 December, from 6.30 to 9.30pm

December 2 Introduction
Spain as a travel destination in the 19th century: «local colour», clichés and characters. In the wake of Ortiz Echagüe. Photography and the construction of a (tourist-friendly) image of Spain.

December 3 «Get to know Spain»
The role of official institutions: the Ministry of Information and Tourism. Background, objectives and projects. Towards an official (photographic) image of Spain. Campaigns to promote tourism. Posters and pamphlets. Publishing houses and photographic projects. Spain as a tourist postcard.

December 4 Documenting tourism, photographing reality.
Revealing difference: Francesc Català-Roca, Nicolás Muller, Ramón Dimas. Seeking difference: foreign photographers and tourism in Spain. The traces of tourists.

Carmelo Vega is a historian of photography, an exhibition curator and Professor at the Department of the History of Art, Laguna University.

MACBA Public Programs
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