"Beatrice", 1866, Julia Margaret Cameron, Photomuseum Collection
"Charles Baudelaire", 1862, Etienne Carjat, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
Majakovski, 1924, Abram Shterenberg, Photomuseum Collection
Alfred Hitchcock, Paco Marí, Marín Fonds
The Niagara Falls, 1910, Landreth, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
The Alps, Francis Frith, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
Mont Blanc, Francis Frith, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
"Combrig (leader of brigada)", Max Vladimirovich Alpert, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
"Trois poires", 1933, Emmanuel Sougez, Photomuseum Collection
Lisianthus, 1993, Pilar Pequeño, Photomuseum Collection
Female Nude, 1895, Constant Puyo, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
"Le froid ( Assia )", 1935, Emmanuel Sougez, Photomuseum Collection
Portrait of the parricide Violette Nozière, Anonymous, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
Two youngsters, 1841, Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau, Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
"Petit Journal por Rire" (nº1-52), 1856, Charles Philipon (editeur), Bidegileak-Pioneros Collection
"Saint-Sebastien. La plage et la mer.", Paul Dujardin, Photomuseum Collection
Photography discovers for us what is closest to ourselves and to those around us. The chance to perpetuate people, events and places. An extraordinary discovery which today has turned into something so much a part of our existence that we can barely grasp that at one time humanity developed without photographs.
Next year will witness the 179th anniversary of the birth of photography. For the last 40 of those years Kutxateka has been preserving and disseminating its collections. Collections that now belong to the very history of photography. Gipuzkoa can boast about having one of Europe’s best photographic archives, the Kutxateka.
The images and artistic works by over 800 photographers plus the practices and genres relating to photography are represented in its collections. So it is inevitable that such a treasure trove must jealously and devotedly preserve the various aesthetic trends starting from the birth of photography in 1839 and going right up to the present day.
We often wonder what makes the collections so attractive and so fascinating. The photographer? The people appearing in them? The landscapes? The reportage? Still life? There are of course far too many reasons to focus the interest of each image on just one.
There are in fact many arguments. The portraits by Nadar, Etienne Carjat, Salomon or Julia Margaret Cameron during the 19th century or the more contemporary ones by Joan Fontcuberta, Aitor Ortiz and Itziar Okariz. The architectural images by Edouard Baldus and Charles Marville over 150 years ago or the more modern ones by Günther Forg, Humberto Rivas or Giuliano Mezzacasa. The landscapes by Adolphe Braun or Felix Bonfils in the early days of photography or the more recent ones like those by Imanol Marrodán, Roberto Botija or Dario Urzay, the documentary images by Robert Capa, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Robert Doisneau or Elio Ervitz. The people on the other side of the camera like Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, Raimundo Sarriegui, Vladimir Mayakovski or Alfred Hitchcock.
Further heirlooms emerged through the cameras obscuras at the start of the 19th century, the daguerreotypes by Jeremiah Gurney and Barthélemy Thalamas, the exceptional nature of the etchings by Hippolyte Fizeau, Alphonse Poitevin or Dujardin… Emmanuel Sougez and his austere images of still lifes demanding that photography be regarded as an autonomous art. Up until the pioneering artistic nudes caught by Constant Puyo, that photographer of tremendous sensitivity.
The Kutxateka images have caught a whiff from each of the footprints left behind by those artists, scenarios, history, trends, games and favourite haunts. A representation that requires that the spectator should become involved in order to add his or her feelings and memories to the photograph. A fragment of our history that is tantamount to saying that it constitutes our very selves.