This is a homage to photography and to a city which, paradoxically, plays a secondary role in a visual account. In Madrid, a human landscape lords over the urban one, actors take center stage against the backdrop of props. Madrid – with its popular and peripheral neighborhoods, its squares and streets – is an urban fabric made for living, for action, as we glean contemplating 160 images in a photobook published by La Fábrica in collaboration with Madrid City Hall.
In the text, Antonio Muñoz Molina points out the narrative-novel aspect of photography, which here concocts a plot through an accumulation of glances and gazes and of fragmentary, random stories. This collective tribute to urban living follows a six-stage timeline stretching from the early 1900s to our days. Madrid is a history of stories, a succession of instances, a genre and modern palimpsest woven over the years by those who have scanned the Spanish capital with a camera: anonymous takes, but also shoots by 20th-century greats. Photojournalists, chroniclers, or street reporters, Spanish or visiting… This kaleidoscopic juxtaposition of pictures is the gem of the book and of the urb portrayed by Alfonso or Santos Yubero in the beginning; Cartier-Bresson or Capa in its most tragic moments; Català-Roca, Morath, Ontañón, or Biarnés during Franco rule; García-Alix or Leele in the ‘Movida’ years of the transition to democracy; and García Rodero, Struth, or Ballester during the gelling of the multicultural, cosmopolitan city of today.