, 14 June 2005
The drama of immigration, the building of the Gaza wall and life in a psychiatric hospital in Calcutta are just some of the featured themes of the FotoPres’05 exhibition, which gathers together in Tarragona the winning photos of the ”la Caixa” Community Projects competition dedicated to photojournalism and modern documentary photography. The exhibition also presents the six works chosen to receive grants that serve to encourage young creators and help them carry out their projects. The FotoPres Awards are held every two years and aim to provide a view of the state of photojournalism today, as well as to make the public think about the world’s major topics and how these are dealt with by the media.
Morir tan cerca, secuencia de un naufragio (Death So Near: Sequence of a Shipwreck) by Juan Medina, FotoPres’05 first prizewinner, shows a sequence of the sinking of a small boat carrying illegal immigrants to Fuerteventura, a drama that unfolds and becomes more moving thanks to the details captured by the photographer’s lens. La intifada del muro (The Intifada of the Wall) is the title of a series of photos taken in Gaza by Raül Gallego Abellán, FotoPres’05 second prizewinner. The photos depict women and young people who experience the drama of violence daily, but the series also includes images of the military presence in Gaza, the wall and the confrontations that occur there. The third prizewinning photographer, Javier Arcenillas, journeyed to a psychiatric hospital in Calcutta. Arcenillas has created a metaphor of the marginalisation and pain that reaches beyond the hospital walls. FotoPres’05 also displays the work of Patric Tato Wittig, Fosi Vegue, Sergi Camara, Fernando Moleres, Héctor Mediavilla and Carma Casulá, winners of the Fundación ”la Caixa” grants.
The FotoPres’05 exhibition can be seen in the Fundación ”la Caixa” Social and Cultural Centre in Tarragona (Cristòfor Colom, 2) from 15 June to 21 August 2005. The FotoPres’05 Award Ceremony will take place on 14 June at 7.30 pm in the same centre. The show will then travel to different cities and towns in Spain.
12 November 2004, south of Fuerteventura. “It was a dark night with a rough sea. Fear and desperation caused the boat to capsize and its passengers fell into the water. Twenty-nine people managed to save their lives, the eleven remaining disappeared before the helpless gaze of the others,” writes Juan Medina, FotoPres’05 first prizewinner, about Morir tan cerca, secuencia de un naufragio, a fascinating report reconstructing the facts of the event via ten snapshots. These images capture the feelings of danger, uncertainty, fear and desolation, without avoiding the insuperable distance separating the photographer from the events that unfolded before his lens.
La intifada del muro, by Raül Gallego Abellán, is a report made in Israel and Palestine between 2003 and 2004 in which the daily violence, presence of Israeli troops and the profound feeling of resistance that is deeply rooted in the Palestinian people are all on display. “The construction of the security wall’, according to Israel, or the “apartheid wall”, according to the Palestinians, has provoked a commotion in people from the countryside. What has arisen is a rural intifada that involves more anger than fear or experience in order to stand up to Israel’s powerful war machine,” writes Gallego, FotoPres’05 second prizewinner.
Javier Arcenillas travelled to Calcutta during the month of July 2004 to show us in Premdam: The Kingdom Charity History how “with hardly any medical material or staff and with the help of various volunteers from different countries, the Premdam Psychiatric Hospital has become renowned for caring for people with identity problems, abandoned people and those who have nothing, all of whom fight to their last breath of hope in a city where the poverty level is incredibly high.” A story about human tragedy but also about hope, and winner of the FotoPres’05 third prize.
The FotoPres’05 judging panel comprises Frits Gierstberg, director of exhibitions at the Nederlands Fotomuseum; Trisha Ziff, freelance curator in Mexico; Cristina García Rodero, Madrid photographer and Spain’s National Photography Award prizewinner; Ute Eskildsen, director of the Photography Department at the Folkwang Museum in Essen (Germany), and Olivia María Rubio, curator and director of exhibitions at La Fábrica in Madrid. The panel had to choose from amongst the 282 works presented during the XVII Spanish Press Photography Competition of the Fundación ”la Caixa”. The first prize was worth 18,200 euros, second prize 12,200 and third 9,200. The same judging panel selected the six projects for the grants valued at 8,000 euros each from amongst 214 works presented.
The Fundación ”la Caixa” created the FotoPres competition in 1982 in the aim of highlighting the best Spanish photo reports each year and contributing to the consolidation of photojournalism in Spain. The competition is held once every two years and comprises two categories: the competition, aimed at awarding prizes to those photographs that best express the feeling and events of a certain situation, and the grants (begun in 1993), which aim to encourage creation within the field of photo documentary work, thereby helping photographers to create projects that are beyond their budget or scope.
The Six Grant Projects
The six projects receiving grants are La sape congolesa (The Congo SAPE), by Héctor Mediavilla; Las maquilas, frontera de Mexico-USA (The Maquilas: Mexico-USA Border), by Fernando Moleres; Vida en la transición de Peter (Life During Peter’s Transition), by Carma Casulá; 2012, “descampando” Madrid (2012: “Decountrifying” Madrid), by Patric Tato Wittig; Extremaunción (Extreme Unction), by Fosi Vegue, and Europa, tan cerca, tan lejos (Europe: So Near, So Far), by Sergi Camara.
In La sape congolesa, Héctor Mediavilla travelled to the Congo to investigate the daily life of the sapeurs and document the triumphant return of a Parisian or Grand Sapeur and the national competition of the SAPE, the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Society of Posers and Elegant People). The sapeurs dream of going to Paris and returning converted into elegant aristocrats; that is, people who are admired for their glamour and savoir faire imported from the city of light. Mediavilla’s report makes us think about who people really are, who they believe and imagine themselves to be and how other people view them.
In Las maquilas, frontera de Mexico-USA, Fernando Moleres documents the feminisation of work in this gobalised age. He focuses on American multinationals that have been set up on the border between Mexico and the USA, such as electrical equipment assembly plants, manufacturing plants and pharmaceutical factories. The photographer explores the relationship between globalised production processes and the sexualisation of job activity for women.
In Vida en la transición de Peter, Carma Casulá looks at Russia and Russians by focusing on “Peter”, as its inhabitants call Saint Petersburg. University students, young people and their meeting places, concert halls, avant-garde artists, homosexuals, fishermen, farmers and the inhabitants of outlying districts all feature in her report.
“Driving around the outskirts of Madrid, you can see how the city is expanding daily. It is a progressive process during which the countryside has slowly begun to disappear. These are places of transition, still without order.” 2012, “descampando” Madrid, by Patric Tato Wittig, uses a large format camera (4.5″) to photograph those places in Madrid that are beginning to change drastically.
In Extremaunción, Fosi Vegue highlights how the Church fits into the spiritual void of today’s modern society. “The Church in Spain is not experiencing one of its best moments, having to deal with an officially secular State, debates on the teaching of religion in schools, and the inability of the Church to attract people in an increasingly more individualised society, and one with less spiritual depth. In this sense, my work presents a vision of the situation that this organisation is going through via a photographic analysis of different churches in Spain.”
Europa, tan cerca, tan lejos is the title of the work by Sergi Camara. Its aim is to provide a photographic answer to the questions confronting us about immigration and presents viewers with the sojourns of the Sub-Saharan people who try to reach the coast of Spain. “They cannot work so hide in the mountains and the outlying districts of the cities they pass through. Nobody wants to rent them rooms, taxi drivers do not accept them and they are denied healthcare. These clandestine people have no rights at all,” writes Camara, who has recreated the epic journey of these Sub-Saharan immigrants in transit countries like Algiers and Morocco.
Biographical Notes of Photographers
HÉCTOR MEDIAVILLA (MIRANDA DE EBRO, BURGOS, 1970)
A mainly self-taught photographer, he has participated in many workshops, highlights of which include the photography meetings in Albarracín organised by Gervasio Sánchez in 2001 and 2002. Since 2001, he has worked as an independent documentary photographer for different national and international media and organisations. He has been published in La Vanguardia, El Periódico de Cataluña, Interviú, El Correu de la Unesco, Integral, Gentleman, El Triangle, IO Donna and Colors Magazine, amongst others. He has also worked for various NGOs, amongst which include Médicos del Mundo and Intermon Oxfam. Currently, he is continuing his work on the Congo SAPE and this will appear in the future as a book and documentary.
FERNANDO MOLERES (BILBAO, 1963)
A self-taught photojournalist, in 2001 he moved to Barcelona, where his work was distributed by agencies like Grazia Neri (Italy), Cosmos (France), Panos (UK) and Laif (Germany), amongst others. His reports have appeared in the Sunday supplement magazine of La Vanguardia, El País Semanal, Figaro Magazine, Stern, The Independent On Sunday, The Sunday Times and Spechio, amongst other publications. His series on child workers earned for him a FotoPres’94 Grant, the Rey de España Award in 1995, a Hasselblad Grant in 1996, the Eugene Smith Grant in 1999 (second prize) and World Press Photo 1998. An independent photographer who initiates his own jobs, he considers his photographs to be a way of life, means and passport to access the subjects that interest him.
CARMA CASULÁ (BARCELONA, 1966)
She has a degree in Fine Arts, specialising in Painting, from the Complutense University in Madrid and also completed post-graduate studies at Milan’s Istituto Europeo di Design. Having a great knowledge of the International Center of Photography in New York, she has also participated in diverse cultural projects and exhibitions and her work can be found in various private and public collections. Her books include Cráneo y flor (Compactos de Poesía de El Gato Gris, 2001), La noche (Fundación Castellana Blanch and Club Diario Levante, 1997) and El Eo (in the collection entitled Lo mínimo, Mestizo A.C., 1996). Currently, she is working as an independent photographer and publishes her work in the Spanish media. She also collaborates with architects and urban planners in the analysis and treatment of land and territory.
PATRIC TATO WITTIG (FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY, 1969)
He has participated in numerous workshops, including that given by Manolo Laguillo, where he discovered the large format camera, and those by Javier Vallonrat, Joan Foncuberta and Daniel Canogar. As part of Berlin’s Milchhof Collective, he exhibited Königsberg in the Orangerie of the Park Tête d’Or in Lyon. He has been awarded, amongst other prizes, the Hofmann second prize (1997) and received honourable mention in the ABC National Photography Competition (exhibited during ARCO 2000). He received a grant from the Casa de Velázquez in 2003 and his latest project is a video installation dealing with the Balkan wars for the Generaciones Grant, which will be exhibited in ARCO 2006.
ALFONSO FERNÁNDEZ-VEGUE (TALAVERA, TOLEDO, 1976)
He has a degree in Art History from the University of Salamanca (1998) and studied video and TV production at IMEFE in 2001 and higher art photography studies at Madrid’s Escuela de Arte nº 10. He participated in a screenwriting workshop in 1999 and in various photography and journalism seminars in Albarracín from 2002 to 2004, as well as a workshop in Madrid on new technologies applied to photography and a course on reporting at the COVER school of photography in 2003. Currently, he is collaborating with the magazine fotocultura.com and is coordinator of Elogio fotografía for the Tesauro Art Gallery-Space in Madrid. He is a teacher of photography for the Punto Joven Centre of the Galapagar Youth Department in Madrid and member of the Blank Paper Agency in the same city. Amongst other prizes, he won the consolation prize of the Foto-Reto Proyecto Focus photographic competition in 2001 and received a grant from the Fundación Temas de Arte in 2003. He has also participated in various group exhibitions.
SERGI CAMARA (VIC, 1979)
He began working in the world of photography for the regional press, where he stayed for six years. During this time, he combined his work with personal projects, such as Albània després de la revolta (Albania after the Revolt, 1998), Refugiats de Kosovo (Kosovo Refugees, 1999) and Crit per la terra (Cry for the Earth, Brazil, 2001), works for which he received a grant during the second photography and journalism seminar in Albarracín. At Barcelona’s Forum 2004, he received the distinction of “Acto Asociado y Buena Práctica” for his photographic work from 2003 on immigration in Osona entitled Itineraris. Un cop d’ull sobre la vida dels immigrants a Osona (Itineraries: A Look at the Life of Immigrants in Osona). In January 2004, he worked on a series in Melilla, on the border between Spain and Morocco, entitled Asalto al muro de Europa, Marruecos (Assault on the Wall of Europe: Morocco), which was published as an exclusive document in the Sunday supplement magazine of La Vanguardia. Currently, he is working as an independent photographer combining photographic work with audiovisual and documentary work.
JUAN MEDINA (BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, 1963)
He has worked as a photographer since 1989. Amongst other distinctions, he was finalist for the Premios Mezquita (1991), won second prize in the Premios Constitución (1993), received the Communication Award from Fuerteventura Magazine (2003), and third prize ex-aequo for FotoPres’03, as well as third prize for World Press Photo 2003 in the “General News” category. He has been collaborating with the EFE news agency since 1999 and Reuters since 2003 and his work has appeared regularly in various Spanish and foreign publications. Currently, he lives on the island of Fuerteventura and his work shows a special interest in migratory flows.
RAÜL GALLEGO (SABADELL, 1976)
He has a degree in Media Studies, specialising in Journalism, from the Ramon Lull University and began working in 1998 as a freelance journalist and TV cameraman for various TV production companies and for channels like TVE-2 (Gran angular programme), as well as going on his first photographic and journalistic trip, to El Aiun, in the Western Sahara. In 2001, he travelled for the first time to Palestine-Israel to photograph the first anniversary of the second Intifada. In February 2003, he went to Baghdad to cover the invasion of Iraq by American and British troops. He has had his photos published in newspapers like El Punt and Berria and in the Sunday supplement magazine of La Vanguardia. Above all, his images have been used for NGO projects.
JAVIER ARCENILLAS (BILBAO, 1973)
Javier Arcenillas was born in 1973. He has a PhD in Psychology from Madrid’s Complutense University and a cinematography qualification from Madrid’s film school. He began working as a photographer for national dance companies and later for publications like Telva, Marca, Diario Médico, Expansión and GU. He also collaborates with newspapers like El País and El Mundo and magazines like Paisajes, El Semanal, MAN and Vanidad. Currently, he is working for the Alcobendas Town Council and his work is published in Spain in Cosmopolitan, Alter-ego and Mujer de Hoy, and internationally in Stern Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde 2, Miami Herald and GEO Deutsch. He is coordinator of the COVER agency photojournalism school and his work can be seen in various public collections, amongst which include Géneros y tendencias and those of Alcobendas, Kodak, the University of Salamanca, UAM, Talavera, Benicarló, Alcoy, Fundación Concha, Majadahonda, Spain’s Army Museum, RSF, Leica Gallery, Deutsch Bank Foundation, Fujifilm and the London Photography Association.
15 June to 21 August 2005
FotoPres’05 Award Ceremony: Tuesday 14 June at 7.30 pm
Opening: Tuesday 14 June at 8 pm
Place Fundación ”la Caixa” Social and Cultural Centre
Cristòfor Colom, 2
Monday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11 am to 2 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm
Tel: (+34) 902 22 30 40
More information: www.fundacio.lacaixa.es