The 1980s was a prolific period for the medium of photography, with the creation of biennials and other events that materialised from the Arles International Encounters, which laid the foundations to promote Spanish and international photography. In the middle years of the decade, the first public photography centres came into being, combining their activities of historical research with the display and dissemination of contemporary photography. Inside this context, magazines played an essential role as catalysts of aesthetic ideas and instruments to orient photographic practices.
In the field of photographic magazines, fresh publications surfaced in the last few decades of the twentieth century in Spain, with PhotoVision one such example, its first issues being published in 1981. Ultimately, as a medium to disseminate creative photography, it would bridge the gap left by preceding magazines, taking up the baton from Nueva Lente (1971–1983) and constituting an alternative to the conventional model of photography in Spain, thus providing more depth in the meaning and destination of photography and the photographic process. Members of the PhotoVision editorial board —Rafael Levenfeld, Ignacio González, Joan Fontcuberta and Adolfo Martínez, its director until the publishing company PhotoVision, S.A. was established — were the architects of the ideology behind the magazine and responsible for the content proposals for its monographic editions. They set out not only to produce a work of new creation, but also to consolidate and strengthen certain underpinnings of photographic art.
PhotoVision alternated the latest photographic work in the 1980s with the exploration of historical photography. The exceptional reproduction quality of its portfolios was coupled with the rigorous presentation of theoretical innovations as they welcomed numerous articles, essays, interviews and critical insights that reflected the evolution of photographic thought and fulfilled work to disseminate and divulge debates at the heart of photographic creation.
This room, centred on the magazine’s first era, from 1981 to 1988, displays a selection of photographic works by creators from Spanish photography in the 1980s, reflecting on the “objective” dimension of the medium. Images from the series Fotomuntatges and Animal Trouvé, by Joan Fontcuberta, others by Manolo Laguillo, a point of reference for urban documentalism, and the portraits of Humberto Rivas all converse with the reportage photography of Cristóbal Hara and Cristina García Rodero, not to mention the work of Ouka Leele and Marta Sentís, among numerous other photographers. These works from that decade are joined by others with ties to the recovery of past figures — Ortiz Echagüe, Pla Janin and the photomontages of Josep Renau — explored by the magazine with renewed interest. As a whole, they bore witness to the semiotics of the photographic image and laid the theoretical foundations to build a forum of discussion to advocate reflection and debate.
In addition to becoming a publication informing of international photography in Spain, the influence of PhotoVision, particularly on creative and documentary photography, was both real and indisputable, above all in its endeavour to approach the discipline from perspectives that were always innovative and different.