With a girl on her back, a young woman from Papua New Guinea portrayed by photographer Isabel Muñoz’s camera, the exhibition «In black and white is more real: 53 photographers for press freedom», Which opened its doors last Thursday in the Cloister of San José de Caracciolos de la University of Alcalá de Henares, begins your journey. Beneath the ceilings of a beautifully balanced building, with bare wooden beams and built at the end of the 16th century, the curious will enjoy images of a beauty that can only be compared to their interest, and that sees the light thanks to a joint venture: that of Raw space, a laboratory specialized in high-quality photographic printing, the Exhibitions Department and Photography Classroom of the General Foundation of the University of Alcalá and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Between March 12 and 26, the photographs of the exhibition will go up for auction, thanks to the collaboration from the Ansorena house. The money raised will go to RSF, that is, to a noble cause. By denouncing the attacks to which journalists who expose the excesses of power are subjected, the organization is in charge of defending press freedom in the world.
“It all started when we opened eight years ago, to try to connect with the world of photography in a closer way,” he says. David López Espada, director of Espacio Raw, the laboratory from which the idea originated. «We started asking photographers friends, like Isabel Munoz The Ouka Leele, to send us images that they liked, but had never published or had not dared to publish. We did an exhibition in Matadero that was very popular, “he adds, about the beginning of the project. “With each jump, we held a contest, and the winner became part of the exhibition. We put great authors together with others who weren’t professionals, “he recalls. For printing, he worked with “a digital file, which is printed on acetate and turned into a negative, and then copied on traditional chemist paper, in pure black and white.”
A collaborative project
With the onset of the pandemic, the photographs began to deteriorate. López Espada knew that he had to make a decision: return them or find a new destination for them. At that time, with the help of the photographer Corina arranz, from the OutDcampo studio, commented the project to Alfonso Armada, president of the Spanish section of RSF. “There is a beautiful part in all this: that it is a project between friends”, he adds, with words of thanks for all those who have collaborated in the initiative and of remembrance for Amador Toril, with whom he started at Espacio Raw, taking his first steps, and Natalia Garcés, from the Alcalá de Henares Photography Room.
«David is very passionate about photography. I know few with such a level of demand. Makes prints with an unsurpassed level of quality. He began his collection of works eight years ago, which has been increasing, and has moved it around Spain without profit, for the love of art, “he explains Ana de Miguel, one of the photographers participating in the exhibition, with her work ‘El infiltrado’. “When he proposed to us the donation and auction of the works for a great cause, such as RSF, we did not doubt it. It’s an honor to work with him! ”He adds.
«It was an idea of David López, who had a collection, which he amassed, with a range of gorgeous blacks and grays», Explains Armada, for his part. “The University of Alcalá de Henares welcomed the project with enthusiasm,” he says, expressing his gratitude to the photographers who agreed to have their work exhibited and then auctioned to allocate the funds collected to RSF. «It is an interesting repertoire of contemporary spanish photography. They are in black and white, which is better recorded in memory and refers to a time when there was more silence. It is the line that unifies the collection ”, he comments.
Last Thursday, at the presentation of the exhibition in the Cloister of San José de los Caracciolos, Jose Vicente Saz, rector of the University of Alcalá de Henares; José Raúl Fernández del Castillo Díez, delegate of the rector of the UAH for Culture, Science and Cooperation; Nicole Herzog-Verrey, one of the photographers participating in the show, and Natalia Garcés, director of the Photography Classroom, as well as Armada and López Espada. Along with them, there were also Latin American journalists residing in Spain thanks to the III RSF Welcome Program, designed to protect threatened informants in their countries of origin. Are Juan Jose Toro, from Bolivia; Andrea Aldana, from Colombia; Carmen Valeria School, from El Salvador, and Alejandro Ortiz, from Mexico. A proof of the importance of organization in ensuring the safety of reporters around the world.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism