I took the opportunity of a visit to the remarkable Museo Carmen Thyssen of Málaga to discover two Spanish photographer artists I did not know about at all: The first one is Antoni Arissa Asmarats (1900-1980) who was one of the most influencal Catalan photographers. A beautiful play with shadows and light, mixed with a deep black and white, makes for a magic experience. He wents from pictorialism in the early 1920’s through symbolism in the early 1930’s and finally to avant-garde until 1936. There is little known about him past the Spanish civil war and the latter part of his life. He just stopped taking photographs… There are little exhibits or publications about his oeuvre. An article in El Pais (dated June 2014) called him “the missing link in Spanish photography”… When he died in 1980, his heirs, not knowing about his work, threw away most of the glass negatives and sold the rest for a dime on the dollar. It is thanks to the pain-staking work of two historians, Rafael Levenfeld and Valentín Vallhonrat, that his work was reassembled and presented… but yet, just one book, hardly available, exists. The second photographer is Gabriel Casas (1892-1973), also born in Barcelona, one of the most important and prolific photojournalists in the 1920s. Photos full of movement, quite rare at the time, are the most representative of his work. Gabriel Casas peak period is from the International Exhibition in Barcelona at 1929 to the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. He was called “the photographer of the impossible angle”, for his high-angle and low-angle shots, making him one of the most modern photographers, well in advance on his times. Both Casas and Arissa are universal photographers deserving to be widely known and recognized as such and yet, for whatever reasons, they remain known in their native Catalunya or Spain at best, unlike the likes of Vivian Maier, now widely publicised, recognized and published globally. Fair?

El beso ©Antoni Arissa Asmarats
Madre, carro y niño (Mother, cart and children), 1923-29 ©Antoni Arissa Asmarats
Tramvia de la línia 12 ©Gabriel Casas
Día del libro, Barcelona, 1932 ©Gabriel Casas