Pilgrimage to Catalonia
Photographs feature veterans of the Spanish Civil war. My politics are the origin of my fascination with the now 80-year old conflict. A proxy war, a testing ground for statecraft and new ways to kill, the fight against Francisco Franco’s coup mirrors current neo-fascist regimes and resistance.
I found nostalgia and politics compelling enough to go see what I had only read about and use a familiar tool to the photojournalist of the 20th century: a rangefinder camera with black and white film. I thought this means of image-making appropriate and respectful.
I photographed Miquel Morera who fought alongside his father in his teens, Artur Tomás Mercader who was an artillery observer for the Republican army, and Neus Català who escaped the fascists with 182 orphaned children. After surviving a concentration camp during the second world war, she continued clandestine resistance to Franco’s regime. The gravesite of war photographer Gerda Taro is a step from a monument for the same camp.
Approaching or past their centenary, talking with each of them was like a conversation with history. I intend to make real to the viewer what the pilgrimage made real for me: the anti-fascist of the past is as real and important as the anti-fascist today. The dialectic continues and we contribute a verse.
Contacting the veterans and translation could not have been possible without the help of Eduard Boada and his family.