Fotografia a Catalunya

Frederic Ballell Maymí

Frederic Ballell Maymí


Frederic Ballell Maymí (1864-1951) was the son of parents who had made good in the Americas. He arrived in Catalonia at a tender age due to the death of his mother. He studied industrial engineering in Barcelona, where he discovered photography, and began to take his first photographs as a portrait photographer. Upon his return to Puerto Rico, and having finished his studies, he established a photographic studio, evidence of which remains through various portrait photographs and street scenes. His great contribution to Catalan photography started when, having returned to Puerto Rico at the beginning of the 20th century, he established a working relationship with the magazine, La Ilustració Catalana, a relationship that began with the very first issue of its new era, early in 1903. His relationship with the publication continued uninterruptedly until its closure in 1917. He also worked for other publications such as the magazines Feminal, L’Esquella de la Torratxa, La Campana de Gràcia and La Hormiga de Oro. During the early years of the new century Ballell became one of the main exponents of the nascent photojournalism and, alongside other photographers such as Fernando Rus and Adolf Mas, he would, through his photographs of the evolving events he saw around him, show the ways in which the photographic image could represent the changes taking place in society, and make them more understandable. His perseverance in producing quality images, and his eye for an angle on the issues thrown up by society, meant that he was sought out by magazines from outside Catalonia and contracted by them as a correspondent. This was the case with Madrid-based magazines such as Blanco y Negro, La Esfera and the newspaper ABC, for which his photographs were used to illustrate events in Barcelona and Catalonia. There were three facets to his work as a photographer since he also worked for some time for the Meteorological Service of Catalonia, taking photographs of clouds. He also took part in photographic competitions. These gave him the opportunity, not only to have his work recognised, but also to exhibit his work in a more personal context as individual expression, rather than as news reporting. Ballell played an important role in the formal transformation of photojournalism, being involved in the consolidation of the profession by, amongst other things, being one of the founding partners of the Daily Press Association of Barcelona. Amongst his photographic production, his series about the Rambles in Barcelona, comprising some hundred photographs taken in parallel with his photojournalistic work, is outstanding. It documents the life of this famous Barcelona thoroughfare during the years of 1907 and 1908. Frederic Ballell died in December 1951 in Barcelona, just six years after his photographic archive had been housed with Barcelona City Council.


2010 (del 9 de març al 22 de maig). SERCHS i SERRA, Jordi (ed.). Frederic Ballell. La Rambla 1907-1908. Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona, Barcelona.

2000 (del 12 d’abril al 12 d’agost). GUSTÀ, Montserrat; DOMENECH, Sílvia (ed.)...

See the exhibitions


CADENA, Josep Maria [et al.]. Frederic Ballell : fotoperiodista. Catàleg de les exposicions "Frederic Ballell, fotoperiodista a l'inici del segle XX (1903-1920)" i "Desastre": Barcelona: Institut de Cultura de Barcelona. Arxi...

See the bibliography