More than a douse of cold water, the sale of Agustí Centelles's archive to the Ministry of Culture by the photographer's sons Sergi and Octavi in 2009 opened a wound that has still not healed. A wound that became all the more painful when it was confirmed that the legacy of one of the most iconic photojournalists of the Civil War period would be housed precisely in the building that symbolises the dictatorship's documentary pillage, the Salamanca Archive. The Centelles case provided the impetus to speed up the search for solutions in the field of photographic heritage conservation, a problem that was already of great concern to the photographic community. One of the most spectacular of these agreements is the one reached recently between the family of the avant-garde photographer, Pere Català Pic (father of Francesc Català-Roca), his son, Pere Català Roca and the Catalan Government Ministry of Culture, whereby the archives of both photographers will be deposited at the ANC.
Who wants to judge others? Who can?
Early in 1839, when the scientist Francesc Aragó, a native of Roussillon, presented Daguerre's great invention in Paris, there was a large group of Catalans living in the city, attracted by the breeze of modernity to be experienced there. Their interests were very varied, from their studies to politics and science, amongst others. Some of them could not resist the appeal of the daguerreotype and became captivated by this new way of representing the world. From then onwards, to a lesser or greater degree, they would actively participate in the dissemination of this technique in Catalonia and throughout the rest of Spain.
The exhibition, Photobook Phenomenon, organised by the Contemporary Culture Centre of Barcelona (CCCB) and the Foto Colectania Foundation, is based on a very specific medium, the photobook. It revisits the history of photography and re-examines the medium itself. The photobook occupies a central place in contemporary photography since it is a natural home for photography, and consequently the medium through which a particular history is told through images. It is, furthermore, a well-known format that has seen notable growth over recent years.