A rising medium in the art world, photography has recently been quite a popular choice for art exhibits. Fotopres, held in CaixaForum from July 8, 2015 to October 18, 2015, is the embodiment of the art world embracing photography. The exhibition showcases ten artists or collectives along with their individual subject matters which range from photographing the horrors of a jail hierarchy to the complexity of Greece’s current situation. Fotopres’ selected photographers, each with a unique artistic perspective, are able to reach a larger audience with Fotopres behind them as well as the CaixaForum foundation. With the premade platform of this exhibit, the photographers’ statements and intensity of their pieces are also able to give a new quality to the gallery. Unlike fine art or classical painting, the photos are a small example of reality to viewers. Fotopres has managed to curate an exhibition that truly emits poignant messages through the art of photography.
The exhibition has evolved over its 30 year tenure. At its start, the initial target were photojournalists who were awarded a grant as well as permission to showcase their journalistic attributes. Since then, however, Fotopres has evolved into promoting documentary photographers which are more artistically inclined. Hand in hand with Magnum photos, Fotopres has become a premier exhibit for young, aspiring photographers. Receiving almost 500 proposals yearly, the Fotopres team’s selected ten photographers are guaranteed to have an eloquence to project their individuality own artistic identity into their work.
Directly after viewing the exhibition, the different artistic approaches in the pieces were extremely prevalent, however, the photography managed to unite by emphasizing on many social issues around the world as well as highlighting key aspects of a variety of cultures. For example, a collective of seven photographers, NOPHOTO, arranged their display to represent tourism in Spain. The arrangement managed to capture the social, cultural, and economic effects of tourism throughout Spain as NOPHOTO was a hit among the visitors. The other displays also encapsulated intrigue from the visitors.
“I was really affected by ‘Guerrilleras’ because it was a different approach to telling a story about the impact of war on a country through the lens of the women who participated. The composition as well as the lighting in the photographs was especially effective in demonstrating a sense of not only loss and devastation but also strength,” said Catalina Ramirez-Saenz.
The exhibit also touched a lot upon the notion of choices in art and photogrpahy. Minimal changes to the photography such as the artist choosing to portray their photography in black and white versus adding color, really stimulated visitors when looking at the photos. For example, in ‘Vista Hermosa,’ Sebastian Liste chooses to add a harsh achromatic effect to his pieces and creates a larger sense of struggle and the dominance of violence in his depictions of a Venezuelan jail. In Jon Cazenave’s ‘Ama Lur (Madre Tierra),’ he imposes the same effect by portraying his subject in black and white but they take on a whole new meaning. Curiously, Cazenave’s photographs do not emphasize violence or struggle but instead create mystery.
“The pieces that I was most impacted by and liked the most was definitely from the Venezuelan artist (Sebastian Liste). Primarily because, I was extremely surprised by the harsh story of the jail that he seemed to produce with solely a photograph. I think it is, I don’t really know, but I think it was, because the photos contained such a realistic quality. The jail became less of an institution and more of a village. There were pictures of children playing, a wedding, and I was mesmerized by the idea that they created a smaller world inside the jail,” said Cristina Martínez-Sandoval Riera.
In a new age of technological prominence, the exhibition aptly included other digital mediums such as videos, websites, and diagrams to showcase a broader view of the artists’ visions as well as keep the exhibit up to date. Naturally, many of the artists also tied in social media platforms so that more people from around the world could connect with their art and form their opinions over the pieces. One artist, Chien-Chi Chang, chose to display a documentary about the history of a town in Morocco. A hard hitting film, the artists’ vision was even more visible by using a more digitally advanced medium that struck its’ viewers.
“I also really enjoyed the documentary about the small village of El Frente, Morocco. The idea that vintage photos from years ago could spark the villagers to remember stories of their families as well as describe the history of their town was very interesting especially when years ago, people did not have access to the immense amounts of technology that we have today but now people are so easily connected,” said Martínez-Sandoval Riera.
CaixaForum will be hosting Fotopres until late October. The exhibit is definitely something to look forward to visiting. The exhibit, with the diversity of artists and their photographs, created a very interesting dynamic.
By Estefania Martinez