Madrid's annual photography festival, PHotoEspana which is currently taking place across the city, has united an international group of artists to showcase their work based around the theme of the human body. Some works take on a political stance whilst others are designed purely to be beautiful works of art. However, each photograph has an underlying message, be it of eroticism, gender liberation, sexual orientation or the fight against discrimination. As the saying goes... it is not just a pretty face!
Breaking the festival down into numbers, there are 328 artists from 42 different countries showcasing their work in 74 exhibitions. With so much to see and take in, it is no surprise that some of the exhibitions stay open for three months straight.
Our highlights from the festival included the candid photographs of The Kennedy family taken by Mark Shaw and Manolo Laguillo's hauntingly bleak shots of the forever changing Spanish landscape. Both exhibitions although contrasting in style, showed a huge range of emotions and a deep sense of nostalgia.
Mark Shaw is known as the unofficial photographer for the Kennedy family and he used his close friendship with John F Kennedy in order to produce the most relaxed shots of a presidential family on record. His work shows an intimate family relationship and the laid back nature of a president off duty. The exhibition documents John F Kennedy's 1036 days in the White House, showing both the professional and private sides of his life. Held at the Loewe flagship store, the exhibition commemorates not only the life and work of Mark Shaw but also 50 years since the death of John F Kennedy.
Manolo Laguillo's show, titled 'Reason and City' shows a full frontal view of the urban landscape that has shaped many of Spain's large cities. The exhibition celebrates Laguillo's 35 year long career and features a series of work taken during the late 70's all the way through to the early 90's. Be it the build up to the Barcelona Olympic games in the 70's or the impact of tourism on the Spanish coastline during the late 80's, Laguillo portrays the varying architectural landscapes through rich and melancholic black and white photos.
With so much to see and so many creative people uniting in the centre of the city this summer, Madrid is the cultural capital of the world... or so it seems. Keep a watch for more content coming from the Spanish capital.
To see more from PHotoEspana and to plan your trip, click here
WORDS | GRACE MOLAN
PHOTOS | PHOTOESPANA/ MARK SHAW/ MANOLO LAGUILLO