The clarity of the gaze
Exhibition: 2 Jun – 18 Sep 2022
Comunidad de Madrid / Complejo El Águila
c/Ramírez de Prado, 3
An exhibition that pays tribute to one of the great figures of contemporary Spanish photography on the centenary of his birth
Català Roca was the father of the generation that renewed the photographic language and a reference for the later generation.
One hundred years after his birth, the figure of Francesc Català-Roca (Valls, Tarragona, 1922 – Barcelona, 1998) established himself as one of the fundamental photographers of post-war Spanish documentary humanist photography.
Connoisseur of avant-garde artistic photography and of the experimental tendencies that preceded the civil war, concerned with the search for an expressive, aesthetic language, in which form predominated over content, Català Roca opted in the post-war period for a photograph documentary humanist that accounted for the content, that reflected the reality that surrounded him above any artistic experimentation. It is in the fifties when his style is consolidated. A personal style marked by his own gaze that manifests itself in handling the position of the camera with precise framing that avoids frontality, the use of high-angle shots and low-angle shots, mastery of light and chiaroscuro, the search for balance and introduction of dynamism, as well as in his great love and empathy for what he photographs.
Català-Roca knew how to combine the technical knowledge acquired during the years in which he worked in his father's laboratory with his knowledge of the photographic trends of the interwar period and put them at the service of a photograph that would account for the reality of the country in which she lived. This resulted in works as outstanding as those he did in Madrid and Barcelona, both books published by the Editorial Destino in 1954, and which, had it not been for the political circumstances of our country and the consequent isolation in which it was still living, they would have been part of the history of the great city photography books.