Photography in Franco’s Spain

I found this book in the library at my work. It’s by Publio Lopez Mondejar. Not on the usual lists of photo books (as far as I know). Black & white images. All the photographers are male. Documents or pseudo- documents. Those who seem to support the dictator. Those who do not. Hidden motions. Transgression. Those from outside. Viewers. Right now I don’t feel like reading so much of the text. The history of photography under Franco vs the images. In ways I think you can see this story in the images. Or do I add my own layers/perspective to this? Images that seem largely conservative. But things seep through. Masat’s bull pierced with swords, staring at the audience, at the world. Unflinching fascists. Police repression. When they come they clash with the images that surround them. The other pages in the book with their soft victorian pastoral images. Jarring. Genoves “four stages of a political crackdown”. Lobato’s “procession in Aliste” full of menace. Candid images. Images taken as power slips or outside of power and with honesty. These are the images that excite and interest. The broken state. The fascist state. Images that look behind and into. Toward the future and the death of the dictator. Simo’s image of two meaning clearing away symbols of Franco’s dictatorship. The general in a frame. Already something of a ghost, it’s power gone. The man staring at the camera, real and alive.

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Filed under May 2012, Readings

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