Look Santander | mountain magazine

William Balbona

In each picture he has a margin of strangeness. we know. Not everything is what it seems. Fatal looks. But there is more. In the internal history of the scene, the moment it is captured, the elusive part becomes transparent, however, his camera manages to slowly hint and reveal, revealing with a silent optical density. It is the looks of Gerardo Felba, the main figure in the development of photography in Spain, and one of the great innovators in the genre. Also a photographic reference station that lights up time and leaves gaps in images to foretell other stories, other creatures and other life stories.

Two opposing examples can be used as an example: “La Florista en Saint Lazare” (1962) and “Intromision” (Reader in Reina Victoria’s Courtyard) in Santander in 1959. In the first photograph, the young woman’s portrait was taken in the Parisian theater photographer reveals a realistic and vivid poetic portrait and intense. But at the same time, cinematography is supposed to be a piece of a greater history. It could be part of any Kislovsky movie “The Ten Commandments”. In the second, the professional view dominates the first contact. However, there is a call to scrutiny, to step into a spectacle with its invisible inhabitants, ghosts, and hidden clocks. It is past but also present.

1960]Gerardo Felba – Implication. Santander.

Gerardo Felba (1921-1992) not only built a fundamental photographic structure as an innovator, justified of late but already in place, but he was also a key figure in the spread of photography in Spain.

Now under the title “Santander in His Eyes”, the Image Documentation Center of Santander (CDIS), curated by Manuela Alonso, of the day (opening at 7:30 p.m.) presents a collection of images linked to the family’s legacy, as they go through the emotional link, the chronicle Summer and Philba’s graphic fondness for the city. Santander City Council, through the CDIS and Menendez Pelayo International University, gathers until mid-October in the Hall of Angel de la Hoz, the group of this fruitful meeting spanning from the 1940s through the summer of Philpa with his wife and daughters. Until the 1970s, footage from the period 1953-1973 of that relationship was preserved. The exhibition, curated by art historian Maria Jose Salazar, displays unpublished pieces until recently, which emerged from the family archives in preparation for the exhibition, Salazar herself says in the accompanying article. As mentioned earlier, the exhibition represents a reconciliation of Santander’s memory to an author unknown to part of the audience who, however, was essential to the renewal of photography in the 1960s.

Santander in your camera

Through his images, Vielba allows “to perceive things that do not normally attract our attention, and that require time of reflection because they are closer to gestures than words. Portraits of figures, scenes and urban landscapes in which fantasy and reality are fused, through a very sensitive view of the beauty of aspects of everyday life ». Last, the second Hall of the Canal de Isabel of the Community of Madrid held a key event to draw attention to Gerardo Felba’s imprint, his creative power through the best known photographs, the winners of important prizes, at the same time that they were salvaged.Other highly valuable and unpublished pieces from the family archive , including those he made during the aforementioned residency in Paris in 1962.

[1960] Gerard Velba. “Snooping around Porticada II”. Santander.

Filipa gathered around him a whole group of photographers who used the camera as a means of expression, “in a country that lacks a structure to promote this art – yet to be called -“. Help new authors and new generations promote new trends. He was recognized by all as a kind person, always open to dialogue, “a kind of mental patron of those who were fortunate enough to frequent him.”

Gerardo Velba’s works form part of the collections of the Reina Sofía National Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid, IVAM (Valencia) and the Alcobendas Collection (Madrid). In the aforementioned PHotoEspaña exhibition, curated by Antonio Tabernero, his commitment to the dissemination of photography became evident, to the point of endorsing the defense of this often abused art in Spain.

His commitment to renewal was, during the 1950s and 1960s, perfectly aligned with the aspirations of international photography, reconciling and introducing both previous and succeeding generations.

“Picture of a House”, “Beside the Tracks”, “Little Sportsman”… are some of the iconic images of “Santanderino” Felba. Theorist, scholar, defender and carrier of the artistic medium of his day, he took on the role of mentor to his colleagues from the group La Palangana, which would later lead to La Escuela de Madrid, and he also got excited by the young people he met at the Royal Photographic Society (Madrid), in colleges, at conferences, debates and competitions.

[1959] Gerard Velba. Play flying.

Parallel to the exhibition that Santander will host until the fall, the Community of Madrid presents “Poéticas a postiori”, which brings together their views, “an innovative and pioneering work, promoting a definitive change in the vision held at that time of photography”.

Due to his influence, photographers began to look at everyday reality and ordinary people, freeing themselves from the obligation to convey a message, from the symbol, as well as from the overly rigid academic.

From the beginning, Vielba approached his work spontaneously as he depicted the experiences with his daughters: in a moment of change, he saw in them “the car that transmits the power of the medium, as well as the opportunity to return to being and the child regains all his ability to be amazed.”

All photos belong to the GERARDO VIELBA family group.

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