THE REAL MADRID: Social issues highlighted in striking photography projects


CaixaForum/Luis Garcia, CC BY-SA3.0


By Charlotte Gilliland

Opening just last month, the 19th edition of FotoPres at the CaixaForum of Madrid differs from your typical contemporary art exhibit. Presenting true stories, the latest edition of this 30 year old series encapsulates stories of international oppression and struggle through images. Striving to offer an innovative view of international social issues through multi-media techniques, this edition of FotoPres is one exhibit of this spring’s art selection in Madrid that cannot be skipped.

FotoPres aims to use the latest transformations in the world of communications to highlight issues that are often overshadowed by the modern day media. The exhibit presents 10 unique photography projects, each covering a different social or historical subject, which the Spanish national daily El Pais has called collectively “a new look at reality.” And rightfully so – this collection sheds a new light on photojournalism and its ability to expose injustice.

Suriving Greece, a project capturing the struggles of young Afghan migrants in Patas, Greece, is perhaps one of the most striking projects in the halls of the Caixa Forum. Photographer Mattia Insolera, currently based in Barcelona, first encountered this immigrant community in June of 2013, yet was not allowed to take any photographs due to the migrant’s fear of police retaliation. However, on Insolera’s second visit, he was eventually allowed to photograph the victim of a racist attack, and from there the project was born. Insolera then continued to document migrant’s experiences in Patas, and their attempts to “jump” the boat to Italy in hopes for a new life. The project has also launched a Facebook page to bring further visibility to these migrants’ stories of both discrimination and hope.

Aquellos que Esperan, another project highlighting the journeys of immigrants, focuses on the Orcasur district in Madrid, an immigrant neighborhood plagued by severe poverty and unemployment. This project’s use of photography and video raises important questions regarding the treatment of immigrants in the face of an economic crisis–which is a conversation that can be continued at one the Forum’s lecture series with the creators of this project, Pablo López-Learte and Diego Sánchez, on Tuesday, April 7.

19th FotoPres is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. Entrance is 4 euro, and free for Caixa card holders.


CHARLOTTE ID picCharlotte Gilliland: A lover of coffee, podcasts, and the sounds of a bustling city, she’s eager to explore each corner and crevice of Madrid where she lives at present. Charlotte is a member of the Guidepost staff.