Winner Of W. Eugene Smith Award 1989
España Oculta (Hidden Spain)
For twenty years, Cristina García Rodero has been documenting the public celebrations, fiestas, and religious practices of contemporary Spain. From the pagan to the Christian, the tragic to the ludicrous, the private to the collective, García Rodero captures performances in the plazas, streets, bullrings, and backroads. The images focus on the individual men and women whose magical acts transform mundane daily life into the fiesta. Taken over the period 1974-1989, this collection of photographs also integrates a reflection of the democratic transition in Spain since 1975. This project culminated in her book España Oculta published in 1989, which won the “Book of the Year Award” at the Arles Festival of Photography.
Cristina Garcia Rodero
Cristina García Rodero was born in Puertollano, Spain. She studied painting at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Madrid, before taking up photography. She then qualified as a teacher and worked full-time in education. For the next 16 years, she also dedicated her time to researching and photographing popular and traditional festivities – religious and pagan – principally in Spain but also across Mediterranean Europe. This project culminated in her book España Oculta published in 1989, which won the “Book of the Year Award” at the Arles Festival of Photography.
The same year, García Rodero also won the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Foundation Prize. The documentary and ethnological value of her work is considerable, but the esthetic quality of her photography makes it more than a simple visual record.
In recent years, García Rodero has traveled around the world in search of other cultures with particular traditions. Over a period of four years, she went several times to Haiti, where she has documented voodoo rituals, producing a series of expressive portraits and moving scenes flanked by engaging documentary observations. Rituals in Haiti was shown for the first time in the 2001 Venice Biennale.
Cristina García Rodero has received many prizes, including the Premio Nacional de Fotografía in 1996 in Spain. Her work has been widely published and exhibited internationally. She has published several books and has been a member of the agency Vu for more than 15 years. Garcia Rodero joined Magnum in 2005 and became a full member in 2009.
Cristina Garcia Rodero of Madrid, Spain was awarded the grant for her work documenting the culturally important festivals and rituals in rural southern European communities which are about to disappear in what she calls “a society fast losing its hold on the importance of human relations.”