Fotografia a Catalunya

Michele Curel

Michele Curel


Michele Curel (New York, 1958) started taking photographs with an instamatic Kodak camera on the journeys she took around the United States with her parents. In 1971 she came to Barcelona with her mother and continued to take photographs, especially of her fellow pupils at the American School of Barcelona. They are photographs that appear in the form of a yearbook and document a period that was characterised by the hippy movement.

She studied Journalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona Faculty of Communication Studies where she began to work in various media such as radio, television and photography. It was at this time that she decided to concentrate on photography, above all through interviews with people from the world of rock that were published in underground magazines such as Star and Vibraciones. For the latter she mainly worked on portraits and concerts. Michele Curel became one of the few female photographers covering concerts in the city of Barcelona during the early 1980s. She also worked as the Barcelona correspondent for the Radio 3 programme Rock, còmics y otros rollos becoming fully immersed in the local rock and comic scene.

During the 1980s, shortly after graduating in journalism, she returned to her native New York to further her studies of photography and to work as a freelance assistant photographer. She concentrated on various kinds of photography such as portrait, still life, fashion, food, advertising and architecture, learning not only new techniques, but also how to work for commissions, something she wanted to devote herself to. It was at that time that she attended various photography workshops such as, for example, the International Centre of Photography (ICP).

Alongside her work as a photographic assistant she also began to work for Spanish newspapers such as El País, La Vanguardia, and other publications from the Grupo Zeta. One day, around that time in 1992, she was travelling in a taxi when she saw that there was a tattoo convention being held. She decided to go to it and the result of her visit was the photographic series Tattoo, which was exhibited at the Sala Metronom in 1996 and which won her the Lux Prize that year.

On the occasion of the Barcelona'92 Olympic Games she decided to live in the city once again and so, for some years, she lived between New York and Barcelona. At that time she began to work regularly for US newspapers and magazines since their interest in Barcelona had been awakened. She provided portraits, travel reports, items on food, architecture and interior design and her work was published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Time, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, Departures, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Business Week, Smithsonian, Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Town & Country, amongst other prestigious US publications.

It was thanks to a commission from the magazine Planeta Humano that she would visit the Sahrawi refugee camps, an experience that would open her eyes to a whole new world. Fascinated by this people's struggle she returned twice, working on commission from the magazines Time and Marie Claire, to illustrate and disseminate the problems of the Sahrawi people in the media.

The Catalan edition of El Mundo commissioned her to produce thirty portraits of famous people in Barcelona. The series was entitled BCNCurel and for it she was awarded the 1998 Lux Prize for portrait.

She also came into contact with the Raluy Circus and produced a series of black and white photographs that marked a new turn in her photographic career. She has been invited to speak and give photography workshops in Dubai and in Barcelona.

Her work has been exhibited in various collective exhibitions at the Sala Metronom, the Palau Robert and Sonimag.

Her work also has a prominent place in the private collection of Rafael Tous.

During the early years of the 21st century her work turned more towards architecture, interior design and urban spaces, while she continues to work for commissions. She has also been involved in a personal project concerning the architecture of the 22@ district of Poblenou in Barcelona, where she has had her studio for twenty years and is very established in the local community.

She is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the Asociación de Fotógrafos Profesionales de España (AFPE). She was the secretary from 2010 to 2014, and from 2014 to 2018 the president of the AFPE Board.





2013 Exposició col·lectiva AFPE. SONIMAG, Barcelona.

2011 Colorantes Autorizados. SONIMAG, Barcelona.

2005 Originales Solidarios. FNAC, Barcelona.

2004 Originales Solidarios. FNAC, Madrid.

2003 The Saharawis El Castell, L...

See the exhibitions