Photobook Phenomenon

The book format is not only a good tool for showing photographic work, but also the perfect place for artistic experimentation. To create a work on paper is an artistic decision in a technological context. For many, making a book is also a rather affordable way to share their ideas.

  • From 24th July to 17th June 2018.
  • From Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00-20:00.
  • Admission: 6 €
  • Executive curator: Moritz Neumüller
Fenómeno fotolibro
Fenómeno fotolibro
Fenómeno fotolibro

Photobook Phenomenon is a historic overview, based on subjective tastes, specific geographical contexts and thematic chapters, paired with open-ended reflection on the current state of the art, in the field of  photography and publishing

The photobook community has produced its own ecosystem which consists of fairs, festivals, exhibitions, screenings and contests. In a way, it has created a parallel, yet quite similar structure to that of photography, zines and print-making, but also literature and design.

Argazki-liburuen fenomenoa / Fenómeno fotolibro

In addition, there is a growing interest in reinterpreting the history of photography through the role of publications and printed photographs. The story goes back to early summer of 1999, when Martin Parr visited Horacio Fernández’s exhibition Fotografía pública Photography in Print 1919 – 1939, in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. At a time when photography was struggling to prove its status as Art and to enter the museum in the form of ever-larger prints in massive frames, here was a show of loose pamphlets, well-thumbed magazines and yellowed photography books: a true “paradigm change” .

Contemporary photobook production has become huge, and it is not easy to stay up-todate. “Best book” lists by experts have become a way of informing about new titles.

Some personal libraries are museums in themselves, for example those of Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Gabriel Cualladó and Martin Parr, who gathered masterpieces over time by means of buying and exchanging with other photographers. As Horacio Fernández argues, libraries also show the tastes of their owners, as sources of information, inspiration and criticism of their work.

The exhibition also contains a section on the Gabriela Cendoya collection recently added to the San Telmo Museum library. As with all private collections, the selection of works is, above all, a reflection of the collector’s loves and interests. In her words, “it’s not perfect, it’s not complete, but it isn’t meant to be. If it has any merit at all, it is to offer a rather complete reflection of the production of these last 10 years, both in Spain and abroad.”

Organisator: San Telmo Museoa
CoproductorsCentro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona (CCCB), Fundación Foto Colectania 
Curators: Gerry Badger, Horacio Fernández, Frederic Lezmi, Irene De Mendoza, Moritz Neumüller, Martin Parr, Markus Schaden

Activities and guided tours

More detailed information about the activities (in spanish)

Moreover, guided tours are also available for groups by prior reservation: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 943 48 15 61


San Sebastián, ciudad de la cultura

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