'The domestic camera' at the KBr Mapfre Foundation

Until May 12, 2024, this exhibition proposes to review amateur and popular photographic culture in Catalonia

'The domestic camera' at the KBr Mapfre Foundation

Photography, like language, transcends the mere description of reality. Far from being his faithful reflection, he often acts as a mediator between the photographer and the world around him, interacting with the spaces, people and objects around him. This is particularly evident in domestic photography: personal photography for everyday use.

Historically on the margins of the institutional circuits of art, domestic photography now finds its recognition and its representation in the KBr space of the Fundación Mapfre on the occasion of an exhibition curated by the expert Núria F. Rius. This representation is completely relevant in the current context of democratization and normalization of photography for personal and everyday use, as it helps us understand the origins of a phenomenon as widespread today as the articulation of the personal and experiential experience from the image.

The parallels between domestic photography in Catalonia in the period from the 1880s to the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and the personal photography we produce and consume today in our most basic forms of communication are multiple, but they could be encompassed under the concept of the performativity of the image. There has been talk of a paradigm shift, according to which we would have gone from taking photographs to preserve the memory of the photographed object to taking photographs to communicate, the turning point being the advent of digital photography, social networks and the general democratization process of cameras on different mobile devices. However, what this exhibition shows us is that prior to the imposition of all these phenomena, the image was already understood as a means through which to communicate.

Thanks to the development of certain technical aspects of the camera, photography began to allow the immediacy of the lived moment to be captured, giving rise to much more fluid interactions between the photographer and his context. This leads to an expansion of the possible fields of image analysis: as agents capable of conveying and transmitting experiences in real time, domestic photographs become interpretable photographs both referentially and self-referentially. They no longer document only the reality of the moment; in a certain way, they also document the context of that reality in which they are inserted. Thus, the photographic act becomes a potentially performative act analogous to the speech acts theorized by John L. Austin, transcending the merely locutionary – that is, literal – function of the image.


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