featuring the participation of
Anthropologist and lecturer at the University of Barcelona
Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Barcelona
Who is it who keeps family photographs in a home? How do they circulate within the domestic space? What happens when they belong to other people who suffered political violence? Why is it that in some houses they survive and in others they disappear? The photographs of the victims of the Spanish Civil War and the post-war period had and continue to have a life that has been marked and defined by this drama. This book describes and analyses their uses and their movements, inexorably subjected to the mediation of Franquista repression in its different forms: murder, disappearances, prison and exile. Examining them from their outward appearance, these pictures speak to us – through their folds, cropping, notes, retouching and the places they have been hidden – of the intergenerational practices and displacements that have made possible the transmission of traumatic memory. In this way, we can observe how the social life of the photographs objectifies the processes of mourning, the female management of family history and its secrets, the strategies of dissembling in communications with the prison or in exile, the feelings of belonging or hope, etc.
This volume takes the reader on a particular route through bedrooms, pockets, living rooms, cemeteries, cells and drawers, always following the trail of a photograph. A route through places, but also through surfaces and stories, in which the meaning of the picture is constantly sought.
The photographs that appear in this book were compiled during fieldwork that took place over eight years in the province of Ciudad Real. From there, the research led the book’s author on to other Spanish cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, and to then travel on to countries such as Mexico, France, Algeria, Venezuela and the United States.
The author has a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Filmmaker, photographer and director of the International Competition for Documentary Cinema on Migration and Exile in Mexico (CEME DOC). Member of the International Research Centre on Memory and Human Rights (CIEMEDH-UNED), the Urban Culture consolidated group of the UNED and the “Thematic Network of interdisciplinary research into vulnerability, social construction of risk and natural and biological threats” (Conacyt, Mexico). He worked as a visual consultant at Goldsmiths (University of London) for the European project “Bosnian Bones, Spanish Ghost”. His research into audiovisual anthropology, violence and social memory focuses on two main objectives: the social uses of photography in traumatic contexts and the use of cinema and photographic essays in the construction of ethnographic narratives. As a photographer he won second prize in the Marqués de Lozolla national popular photography competition for his work Entre lo urbano y lo rural: la matanza del cerdo (España, 2006). As a filmmaker he won first prize for best documentary in the 2011 Castilla-La Mancha International Festival for his work Vuelo a Shangrila. In 2015, his documentary What Remains, directed together with Lee Douglas, was selected for the Margaret Mead Film Festival (New York), the ALBA Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (New York) and the Ethnografilm Festival (Paris), among others.