Joan Colom

“The streets” series (1958)

Joan Colom knew that in order to photograph the streets, you need to be part of it. The neighborhood of El Raval in Barcelona in the 1950s became the main focus of his work —an area beset by destitute characters, prostitution and the harshness of life. He explored this reality without judging what he saw but rather blending into the bustle of the streets.

Attempting to capture that which does not exist is no easy task in times of censorship. Therefore, Colom perfected a method of shooting his Leica M2 —which he strapped to his wrist and placed next to his thigh or resting on his lape— without looking through the viewfinder.

He produced a work of unquestionable documentary value, originally titled La Calle, which in 1964 became the book Izasrabizas y colipoterras with texts by Camilo José Cela. After it was published, a woman portrayed in the book named Eloísa Sánchez sued Cela, Colom and the publishing house for publishing her image without her consent. Although the lawsuit was unsuccessful, this incident led Colom to quit photography until the 1990s.

Looking at Colom’s work, and Colom himself as some kind of recorder of his time, one cannot help thinking how lucky it was that an amateur photographer took his passion so seriously, driven only by the need to capture what moved him. His commitment earned him a National Photography Award in 2002.

Joan Colom

Barcelona, 1921 — Barcelona, 2017

This self-taught accountant took up photography in his thirties. He is considered a pioneer in the composition of photographic series and one of the greatest post-war photographers. One of his most renowned works is his series entitled La calle, which contains photographs of prostitutes in Barcelona’s Chinatown, and which would later illustrate Camilo José Cela’s book Izas, rabizas y colipoterras. He won Spain’s National Photography Award in 2002.

Joan Colom
© Joan Colom, VEGAP, Madrid, 2019

Este sitio web utiliza cookies para que usted tenga la mejor experiencia de usuario. Si continúa navegando está dando su consentimiento para la aceptación de las mencionadas cookies y la aceptación de nuestra política de cookies, pinche el enlace para mayor información. ACEPTAR

Aviso de cookies