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Exhibition: FotoPres'03

Lleida, 1 July 2003

Victims of civil war, and permanently blinded by torture, several children are learning to read Braille at the Milton Margay School for the Blind, a non-profit school founded by English citizen Barbara Davidson in Freetown (Sierra Leone). Among them are the subjects of Blind Faith, a moving black and white photo reportage with which Pep Bonet has won first prize in FotoPres’03, a Spanish press photography contest held biennally by ”la Caixa” Foundation. Together with a hundred images that have won awards or received grants in this 16th running, the ten photographs that make up Blind Faith will be shown for the first time in ”la Caixa” Foundation’s Lleida Social and Cultural Centre. The FotoPres’03 exhibition also features the photo essay, Tour de France, views along the shoulder by Francis Tsang, second-place winner and two works taking third place ex aqueo: Earthquake in India, by Enric Folgosa, and Times of pateras, (“Pateras” are the small motorboats used by immigrants to cross the Strait of Gibraltar), by Juan Medina. As for those awarded grants, the six photographic projects of Alfredo Cáliz, Lorena Ros, Matías Costa, Jordi Oliver, Francesc Melcion and Sergio Belinchón are also on exhibit.

The FotoPres’03 exhibition can be visited at ”la Caixa” Foundation’s Lleida Social and Cultural Centre (Blondel, 3), from 2 July to 3 August, 2003.

”la Caixa” Foundation established the FotoPres Contest in 1982 to acknowledge each year’s best work in Spanish photojournalism and contribute to the contemporary consolidation of this discipline in Spain. This Spanish press photography contest is held biannually, and divided into two areas: the contest, meant to award the photographs that express an event or situation with special sensitivity and skill, and the grants, aimed at stimulating creation within documentary photography to help photographers put together projects beyond their present possibilities. For the first time, ”la Caixa” Foundation’s Lleida Social and Cultural Centre is showing the 110 photographs that make up the ten photo essays winning awards or receiving grants in FotoPres’03.

The Blind Faith report, completed in 2002 by Pep Bonet (Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, 1974) in Sierra Leone is this year’s first-place winner. The ten moving photos show the daily reality of a group of children cruelly tortured during the civil war who are now being taught English and music, and learning to read in Braille at the Milton Margay School for the Blind. Pep Bonet divides his time between Holland, Africa and Majorca, and has won numerous grants and awards: Fujifilm Europress, Zilveren Camera, World Press Photo Masterclass, PDN 30’s. etc. He has shown his photographs in Spain and Holland, and his work has been published in NRC Handelsblad, The Observer, La Vanguardia’s “Magazine” supplement, Man and PF, in addition to other magazines.

This year’s second place award went to Tour de France, views along the shoulder. This is Francis Tsang’s (London, 1966) tribute to the Tour’s centennial anniversary, in which he has attempted to show how the fans live out this massive – and free – sporting event. Tsang has studied under Sebastião Salgado, Ferdinando Sccianna, Alex Webb and Cristina García Rodero. Among the twenty-nine photography awards he has received throughout his career, especially noteworthy are the first European Fuji Europress 2000 Award in the Sports category, the first Fotosistema/Leica Award in 1999, the first Fotoprix Award in 1992 and the FotoPres ’97 Grant for a photo reportage on tobacco and smokers.

Following these are the two reports receiving honours ex aqueo with the third place FotoPres’03 Award: Earthquake in India, in which Enric Folgosa Martí shows the harrowing natural disaster that shook Gujart province on 26 January, 2001, with a death toll of 19,727, and Times of Pateras, by Juan Medina, shot at “the hottest patera landing spot of 2002”. Enric Folgosa Martí (Barcelona, 1959) is currently chief of photography for Associated Press in Jerusalem. He has worked as a photojournalist in Central America, Sarajevo, the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Israel and Palestine. Among the many prizes he has been awarded are an honorary mention in 1997 for the POY (Picture of the Year), second place in the FotoPres’99 contest with the photograph Funeral in Kosovo, and that same year, the award for a photograph of an earthquake in Turkey given by World Press Photo. Juan Medina (Buenos Aires, 1963) has collaborated with several news organisations and magazines such as El Semanal, El País Semanal, Interviú, The Independent, The Sunday Review, etc. He is now a photo correspondent for the Efe agency in Fuerteventura.

In the grant category, Fotopres’03 has distinguished the projects of six photographers. In The next Morocco, Alfredo Cáliz (Madrid, 1968) foregoes stereotypes to show the most modern side of Spain’s neighbour Morocco. In her work Women trafficking, Lorena Ros (Barcelona, 1975) has reconstructed the odyssey endured by Nigerian women en route to Spain. In the photo essay The gateways of Europe Matías Costa (Buenos Aires, 1973) shows some of the “gateways” through which immigrants enter the Europe of their dreams. Jordi Oliver (Barcelona 1966) has recorded Argentina’s new barter economy boom with Let’s recover bartering. Francesc Melcion (Barcelona, 1968) toured the Mekong to craft a visual record of traditional ways of life along the banks of this south-east Asian river that are now imminently endangered in his The last days of Mekong? series. In his report entitled The architecture of leisure, Sergio Belinchón (Valencia, 1971) offers a gallery of spaces devoted to modern leisure-time activities, places devoid of history and identity, scattered throughout the West.

From 2 July to 3 August, 2003

”la Caixa” Foundation Social and Cultural Centre
Blondel, 3
25002 Lleida
Tel.: 902 22 30 40

Visiting hours:
Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 1 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm
Sundays and holidays, 11 am to 2 pm

Free admission


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