Fotograf Magazine

Photo Espaňa 2002 in Madrid

The main theme of the exhibitions of the 5th year of one of the best photography festivals, held in June and July in the Spanish capital and opened by the Spanish Queen Sofia herself, was ‘woman behind the camera and in front of the camera’. The programme, prepared for the second time now by the new art director Oliva Maria Rubio and her coworkers, included a number of exhibitions of women photographers: elegant fashion shots in the fading glamour style by Lillian Bassman; portraits of the rich and famous by Daniela Rossell; dramatic reportage photos by Susan Meiselas; brutally authentic personal documents by Nan Goldin and many others. Other exhibitions showed women from the perspective of the male photographers August Sander, Helmut Newton, Rafael Navarro and Nobuyoshi Araki. The large retrospective of the American press photographer and documentarist Elliott Erwitt, in the Queen Sofia Art Centre, also included many photos of women from various parts of the world. In addition to the official programme, more than thirty other expositions, mainly of Spanish photographers, were held in various private galleries as part of the ‘off festival’. The traditionally meticulously prepared festival was also accompanied by various creative workshops, lectures, portfolio evaluations, film and slide projections and guided group tours of exhibitions. The main prize of the festival for a significant contribution to world photography was awarded to Nan Goldin. (In 1999 it was awarded to Josef Koudelka and last year to Duane Michals.) Gabriele Basilico’s large monograph on Martin Parr, published by the London Phaidon firm, and the new book Berlin, published by Actes Sud, won the competition for the best photography publication.

Vladimír Birgus