The collection held by the archive was assembled by Xavier Miserachs over the course of his professional life. Towards the end of the 1980s Miserachs himself organized the negatives and contact sheets with the help of historian Maria Dolors Tapias Gil. This organization has been maintained up to the present and illustrates the documentary materials’ relevance for the photographer, and of special note are the documents associated with the photobook Barcelona. Blanc i negre.

Technical details

Xavier Miserachs (productor)
Identification number:
Spanish, Catalan

60.000 negatius (35 mm, 6x6, 9x12) 20.000 diapositives i transparències (35 mm, 6x6, 9x12) 2.500 fulls de contacte 6 plaques de vidre (9x12) 13 arxivadors amb documentació 43 monografies, 1 tesi i 20 publicacions periòdiques


Col·lecció MACBA. Centre d'Estudis i Documentació. Fons Xavier Miserachs

Holdings author

Xavier Miserachs 1937-1998

Xavier Miserachs was born in Barcelona on 12 July 1937, the son of Manuel Miserachs, a haematologist, and Montserrat Ribalta, a librarian. As a teenager, Miserachs and his classmates Ramon and Antoni Fabregat came into contact with photography whilst studying at the Institut Tècnic Eulàlia. In 1952, he joined the photography club Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya, where he met Oriol Maspons, forging what was to be a lifelong friendship. In 1954, when he was just seventeen, he won the First Luis Navarro Trophy, awarded at the Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya’s Second National Modern Photography Show. That same year he began to study medicine, although he eventually dropped out in his final year in order to devote himself to photography.

The first of two now-legendary exhibitions featuring photographs by Xavier Miserachs, Ricard Terré and Ramón Masats was held in 1957, and toured to the Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Agrupación Fotográfica de Almería (AFAL), and the Real Sociedad Fotográfica in Madrid. This first exhibition signalled the start of what the Barcelona critic Josep Maria Casademont called the “new avant-garde” in Spanish photography. Two years later, in 1959, Terré, Miserachs and Masats presented their second collective show at the recently-inaugurated Sala Aixelà in Barcelona, which was directed by Casademont.

On completion of his military service in 1961, Miserachs set up his own studio, where he combined commissions as a professional photographer with work that would later form part of his acclaimed photography books published in the 1960s: Barcelona. Blanc i negre (Aymà, 1964), Costa Brava Show (Kairós, 1966) and Los cachorros (Lumen, 1967). One of Miserachs’ main influences was the work of the photographer William Klein, particularly his books on different cities. The exhibition The Family of Man (1955) made a deep impression on Miserachs, as it did on many of his generation.

From the late-1960s on, Miserachs expanded his work as a photographer to include advertising, news reports and, on many occasions, photography books. From 1966, he was constantly on the move thanks to his work as a correspondent for publications such as La Actualidad Española, Gaceta Ilustrada, La Vanguardia, Interviú and Triunfo. In 1969, he co-founded the Eina School, becoming its first photography teacher, and in 1970 his activities briefly extended to film, when he was the artistic director and director of photography on two underground films directed by Enrique Vila-Matas and Emma Cohen. That same year, he also directed and produced the short film, Amén, historieta muda.

During the last years of his life, Miserachs took up writing with a view to leaving testimony to his ideas about photography, ideas that were embodied in a belligerent approach to what he considered the dominant photographic culture and its institutions. The most notable results of this enterprise include his last two books, Fulls de contactes. Memòries (Edicions 62, 1998) and Criterio fotográfico (Omega, 1998), both published in the year of his death.

Xavier Miserachs died on 14 August 1998, at the age of 61, shortly after receiving the Creu de Sant Jordi, awarded to him by the Catalan Government.

The Collection

The collection was built up by the photographer Xavier Miserachs in the course of his professional career. In the seventies, the archive was affected by a flood, which damaged some of the materials. In the late eighties, Miserachs himself organised the negatives and contact sheets with the help of the historian Maria Dolors Tapias Gil, who was given the original contact sheets for the photobook Barcelona. Blanc i negre as a gift in exchange for her work. The criteria for ordering the archive that resulted from this process remains to this day.

After the death of Xavier Miserachs, the collection was stored and managed by his two daughters, who also inherited the exploitation rights for the material and the moral rights of the author. In late 2009, the MACBA Study Centre contacted the two heiresses to express its interest in the documentary collection, setting in motion a process that culminated on 3 February 2011 with the signing of an agreement for the deposit of the material for a period of 25 years and the physical transfer of the archive to the Study Centre. On the same day, MACBA signed a second deposit agreement with Maria Dolors Tapias Gil to secure the original contact sheets for the photobook Barcelona. Blanc i negre along with the rest of the collection.

The content of the fonds is structured into three blocks:

  • the first consists of some 80,000 photographic images, of which approximately 60,000 are negatives and 20,000 are transparencies in various formats. The material, which includes some 2,500 contact sheets, covers Miserachs’ forty-four year professional career (from 1954 to 1998).
  • the second section contains administrative documents relating to Xavier Miserachs’ professional activities in the period spanning from 1970 to 1998, and includes some of his notebooks.
  • and the third section is a series of publications from the photographer’s personal library.

 Description of the Xavier Miserachs fonds

 Flickr: Xavier Miserachs Fonds