Las Vegas

Manolo Laguillo

Madrid, Spain, 1953

In 1978, Manolo Laguillo, considered by many as a reference point for urban documentalism with his straightforward descriptive style, began to work on the geographical exploration of a city undergoing a complete transformation. Laguillo’s photographic work built up an image of the city far removed from the traditional spaces of historical representation, in an attempt to capture a “real landscape” in projects on Barcelona, Tarragona and Tenerife. Laguillo was also a pioneer in the photography of the city’s outskirts, the industrial estates or the port areas that were beginning to represent the idea of the urban sprawl from the late 1970s onwards, where there was no longer any clear distinction between the city and the countryside.Using a view camera, Laguillo attempted to capture the effects of a new economic model on the landscape, along the lines of the documentary reinvention of the 1970s and the new ways of looking that it required.Manolo Laguillo is a key figure in the Spain of the “new topographics”, a 1970s movement that brought together an international group of artists with the aim of breaking away from the traditional concepts of landscape photography and pursuing an image of  a territory devoid of cliché, which focused on the social, economic and political tensions created by the process of urban transformation.  Most of Laguillo’s photographic series build into a documentary archive on urban change that supports the mechanics of speculation and the exclusion of contemporary urbanism. Laguillo, basically, was reinventing the activity of urban documentary, updating the street photography model, dominated until then by humanistic reporting.Salvador Nadales