The first artist I decided to photograph was EVRU / he told me he would like to be photographed in Barcelona; I asked if he preferred mountain or sea, and he said the sea. I picked him up at 4am in front of the Joan Prats-artgrafic gallery, where he was living and exhibiting at that moment… we went down Balmes street as far as Barceloneta…once there we saw a pier that went all the way out to sea, very near to the Olympic harbour, and we liked it…there…he started taking his clothes off…because he preferred to be photographed in the nude…it was very exciting for me to have the opportunity to take pictures of my first artist without clothes!!…Everything went very well, we had a splendid light at that time in the morning… and wonderful clouds. It was strange the effect of the light on the stones, you could see two different colors…and we chose one of those big rocks for Evru…while he was sitting on the stone…as if he had just landed from another planet, a fisherman came around, and he asked if we had fished a lot that morning, and when he realized that the man he was talking to was completely in the nude, he started running away from us.
I met PEREJAUME in Sant Pol de Mar…he wanted to take me for a walk on the beach…once there I saw him concentrating on the horizon…thinking of things…it was a short but pleasant meeting. We met a second time at his house…in Sant Pol too…we went together with Esther Xargay, who wanted to film and interview him for a program about the poet Maria Mercè Marçal…while he was concentrating on the interview…I took a Catalan wine jar from his kitchen, and placed it between him and my camera…it was very important for me to make show his Catalan identity show through…just like the first day we met on the beach in his Catalan shoes.
My first rendez vous with JORDI ALCARAZ was on the day after I met Perejaume on the beach. I already knew him from his work, which I liked a lot from the first time I saw it, we went on postponing our meeting waiting for the orange tree to produce fruit…he is in love with his orange tree garden… I took a picture of him against the wall of his patio in the shadow of the orange tree leaves…in another image he appears looking through black holes, thinking how long it would take the oranges to transform their intense green to their habitual colour.
I saw JOSEP GUINOVART at his house, in Castelldefels…. It was one of those days when the sun is extremely bright, and I felt sorry about forgetting my sunglasses at home, luckily I had my special filters otherwise that light would have been terrible for taking pictures. He opened the door and took me into his garden. I realize that a garden is a special and private corner of paradise for many of us, it’s a space that helps us become aware of the fact that we belong to this world…it is important even if it is small…as small as Jordi Alcaraz’s orange tree garden…we chose different corners of the garden full of memories of the past, tread on by this artist from dry land, clay, fields and cultivation’s…one notices the presence, perhaps only in imaginary feelings, of the land where he was born, Lleida…I visited him a second time to steal some seconds from his life…and expressed his anxiety for the war in Lebanon and its children.
I meet JAUME PLENSA invited me to his studio, the only place he feels like sharing, his magic place of creation…I try to avoid studios, because I think that creativity arises in other places, places where we recharge our batteries, where feelings are intensified, places where our moods change…I suppose that these places are sometimes so far away that it is difficult to get to them…or maybe they just exist in our minds…and we need to dream to get to them…He dedicated himself to me the whole morning…he read my mind and got into one of his huge sculptures…and so everything became paralyzed, we had the wild animal under control, inside its own creation…I couldn’t let that moment escape, and I decided to take a sequence of pictures at the moment he got out of this big sculpture…I created a little book, a little pocket video that moves when I want…I see he has got a close relationship with his sculptures, even these big structures whisper to him. A great seducer creates even bigger seducers…There is such big magic in his sculptures that the passing of time will never take them away from my absent minded…
FREDERIC AMAT received me very shyly the first time, I see in him a great seducer, a little bit more shy than Plensa…We took some pictures in several corners of his house and garden, introduced me to his little son, and I could see his eyes shining, the smile of a proud father and happy to have that little treasure with him…I took some pictures of them together…
I went back another day…and felt he was more comfortable than the first day, he introduced me to his wife, and we discovered that at that moment she was working with some of my pictures which were in a scientific-artistic book she was designing … That day we started playing in order to carry out the photographic sequences of my flipbooks…Jordi Alcaraz told me that Brossa called these little movement books FOLISCOPIS, and that’s the way I decided to name them.
The first time I saw ALBERT RÀFOLS-CASAMADA and MARIA GIRONA was at their flat in Barcelona. Ràfols told me that that corner with his armchair was a very special place for him…I noticed that Maria keeps an eye on her husband, and that she takes care of him. When I took photographs of them together, magic flowed, and in stead of seeing two elderly people, I saw two teenagers in love, smiling and full of private secrets…they looked so gorgeous one next to the other!... I wonder how many things they have been sharing through out their lives.
ANTONI TÀPIES and his wife Tresa, made me feel so excited, because they were so sweet, even if it was a short time. My legs started shaking when Tàpies got so near to me, interested in my studies and my things, asking all sort of questions and looking into my eyes…this legend who I never thought I could even ever meet…made me feel drunk with fear and respect…but after some seconds I recovered from this excitement and I was myself again…it seems like we are going to have a second appointment in Can Pins…looking forward to that!!!!
One day I decided to go to Valence, to see CARMEN CALVO. Once there I spent two days with her…she really took care of me. She made me feel so comfortable…she took me to her very old studio, where she had been working since the beginning, now empty…but full of memories. You could feel a nostalgic air in that space in ruins…. completely the opposite to her new studio where she works now…a very modern space, where little by little she has given it a personal atmosphere; it looked as if she was starting to get used to this change.
With JORGE POMBO we talked and talked, and after many meetings and coffees, we decided to travel by train…I had the feeling that one of his special places was travelling…he liked to observe and to catch everything that was happening around…I would say he is a great thinker who does not leave an empty space in his thoughts.
ALFONS BORRELL came to pick me up at the train station in Sabadell. He proposed staying for a while in his garden, a very special place, and very much alive…he has got a lot of turtles, it seems he breeds autochthon species to help a recuperation center for this animal. He explained everything to me about the plants that surrounded us while his dog was attentive to his master. I photographed him in his garden with his turtles and his dog Nit (Night). We decided to go up to a mountain nearby another day, and there we went one day Alfons, Nit and I.
ORIOL VILAPUIG took me to the cinema….a very inspiring and relaxing place for him, he took me to see La Notte, by Antonioni, what a present!.
Every artist is a new world to discover, I sheared very few hours with each of them, but they have been special moments, with people that made me feel comfortable… if I have found members of my family that I have met for the first time, sometimes words are not necessary…
I have known BENET ROSSELL since I was very young…I went to see his exhibitions with my mother when I was around 12 years old…I liked his work so much that I asked him to sign one of the exhibition posters for me…I had this poster on the door of my room for many years…he was very proud of this little girl asking him for his autograph. He and his wife took me for a walk around their neighborhood in Barcelona, Poble Sec and Rabal, after that we had lunch in an Italian restaurant in Sortidor square, and there I discovered the understanding between them.
CARLOS PAZOS opened the door of his house in pants!!….he had had a lot of phone calls that morning and had not had time to get dressed!!…while he was talking on the telephone he tried to find his trousers, then he hung up, and tried to find his belt too…then he called his wife to ask her if she knew where his belt was, finally he found it, and I started taking pictures of him when he was putting it on. Then we started talking for a while to decide where we could make our next appointment…and we decided to see each other again in the calm of Colliure.
With DAVID YMBERNON we decided to go to a white landscape with snow...we went to Núria, with Elisabeth his wife and Dada his son...we loved to look at the lands cape on the way, and we got to arrive there before the sunset...we walked arround the place on the wet snow, and they showed the snow to their son for the first time.
I went to see FERNANDO PRATS at his studio, we decided, not to plan things, just to catch them when they pass by…we took a big box he normally uses to create smoke, and we put it sideways on the terrace, we decided to take photos through the holes, just showing a piece of sky…he was concentrated watching the charcoal that was on the inside walls of the smoke box…and he felt the need to get close to that charcoal…and between laughs and satisfaction he painted his face…we felt so happy after that session!!!
All the moments I shared with each one of them was special…MAYTE VIETA, opened the doors of her house, and like many others took me to her corner of life, her garden, that shows the passing of time, where trees don’t stop growing, which made us aware of the reality of live, that we are growing as well…they need care, water and vitamins to stop illness and death.
We spoke non-stop, drinking bear, in her terrace surrounded by plants…I’m sure we will see each other again…
The first time I met JOAQUIM CHANCHO was at his studio in Barcelona…when I do not know the person I want to photograph, I try to have a first meeting in order to explain my idea…I ask them to think of a special place…if possible outside, a place of inspiration…where they feel they can charge batteries…I took some pictures in his studio, but we decided to meet again at his house-studio in Tarragona. I spent a whole day with him and his family. He showed me every corner of his land, I discovered new colors in that landscape. Everything is in order; in the right place…it inspires calm…
To photograph MODEST CUIXART we decided to have a walk arround his house, and he showed me his three cypress trees, one of the most important places of his garden, and I did the photograph there with his little dog on his arms. We decide to go for a walk, around Palafrugell, another day, and perhaps we will look through some books in the library too.
I visited VICENÇ VIAPLANA in his studio in Granollers…the first special place he thought of was a green field in his garden which he takes care of by cutting the grass once a week. I took pictures of him cutting the grass…that’s his space and his moment.
TONI LLENA opened the door of his house in Vallvidrera to me, he did not hug me, but he did it with his eyes. We drank a cup of tea, as if it was one of the thousands we had had before…he gave me his opinion about what I am doing, and he reminded me that I have to feel free in everything I want to do and create…I felt as if I was with an uncle, a friend or with a father, someone who cares for me…I could not stop feeling as if I was one of the family… I took a picture of him beside a big fig tree, a fig tree with very long roots, a fig tree that is conscious of the difficulties in life, and that whispers in my ear to be careful to who I open my heart to, and not to trust too much, or just not to expect anything in return after giving…thanks Toni for telling me to feel free with the images that I have stolen from you.
PERE NOGUERA was a last moment present from Vicenç Altaió in La Bisbal, I went to his house-studio…and while Vicenç and I were having a look through some works, I saw Pere watering the dead plants in his garden…that attracted my attention and I decided to keep that particular moment by photographing him. We decided to meet another day to look for one of his special places
My father JOHN MORRISON and I went to spend some days with my grandparents in England, they live in a beautiful village…next to a river…there is quite a big harbour with many boats. We sat down next to the river…and lots of ducks and swans started to appear. Suddenly a special atmosphere appeared and I decided to take some pictures of him…just there…very close to his parents…the land where he was born and left 45 years ago…pulled by the power of the Mediterranean sun and the sound of Catalan traditional sardana music.
JOSEP UCLÉS wanted to show me a castle in the north, the Quermançó castle and its surroundings, the Countess of Molins lived there, and there are lots of stories about her…once there I wanted him to blow a seed flower, the biggest I have ever seen, and it blew in the air over part of this landscape…shaping it in our way…I decided to put the Castle as if it had just landed from the past, behind Josep…as if by just blowing it could disappear forever.
Another day we decided to go to the Santa Maria del Mar church, to light some candles…it’s always good to ask for wishes!!!
I made an appointment with RIERA I ARAGÓ on the stairs of the Pedralbes Monastery. He spent lots of his early days in this place, meeting girls and friends…we decided to see each other another day in a very special place for him, on the Sant Pere Pescador beach, also a very special place for me…
I have been living through a variety of funny and tender situations…let’s see what excuse I can find in the future to experience them again…after sharing so many special places whith them.
I have the wish to go to Mallorca in August, after my visit to Tàpies in Can Pins, to share some other moments with Miquel Barceló, Campano, Broto and José MªSicilia…. destiny will tell…
Thanks to each one of you, for your collaboration in this project in this unique way.
...a special place
...a special place...
...the day by day
...moments and places in our inconscience
...does there exist a special place for me?
...a meeting point
...the artist space
...A SPECIAL PLACE
One of photography’s raisons d’être is to question things.
We are on the terrace at the Fundació Miró and have to dodge the scaffolding, the test tiles. I ask the photographer to show me how she would like me to stress my posture.
She replies: “First, I must find you.”
I notice that while she holds the camera with one hand, with the other she clasps a piece of coloured methacrylate that probably captures other shots, oh, how mysterious! Perhaps she’ll bring the emptiness of the city to me and manage to transfer it to my soul. For they are identical!
I turn the sheet round. I don’t think my eye will entice the writing into appearing legible. I wouldn’t like it to reveal what I’m writing while she is photographing.
Now I’ve sensed your essence: nature. You choose the beauty that shoots up; I belong to the void.
The sheets of paper are flurried in the breeze, their edges raised by against the angles of the architecture of the void and of light. As if my soul were to take flight, I don’t know why but photography always leads me to death, to the evidence of the passage of time. I drift away in the breeze, cremated. If you captured this you would have created something immemorial.
Moreover, I think it would be valuable if your photography endorsed the coming together of our souls: the nature of tidy photography and the city of untidy writing, like this.
I’ll conclude by lifting my pen off the sheet so that photography can rise instead of being grounded on something. Like the whole. Like memory.
Vicenç Altaió in Joan Miró Foundation
by Fiona Morrison