Paul Strand is an iconic figure in the photography world and his career spans over 60 years. Artistically speaking, he’s labeled as a modernist photographer along with his friends and colleagues, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston. Strand’s subject matters vary greatly and you can see countries from all over the world as his backdrop: Africa, Europe and North & South America.
The exhibit on display at Fundación Mapfre is free of charge. When you enter, on the right, there´s an option to purchase an audio guide. This can come in handy if you´d like more detail and context about the photos. The gallery itself is located in the city center near cercanías stop Recoletos. It’s open, clean and has a very minimalist design; perfect canvas for Strand’s photos. The hours are Monday 14-20h, Tuesday through Saturday 11-20h, Sunday 11-19h.
Strand was born in New York and traveled throughout the world capturing the faces and views that struck his attention. His main focus was social and political conflicts. Most of his friends and associates were related to, or members of the Communist party, which in turn made him appear guilty by mere association. As a result, he chose to spend the latter part of his life in Orgeval, France with his third wife. Strand´s photos are intimate, close and made to make the viewer feel a bit uncomfortable. In fact, his portraits of his wife were some of our favorites because they were so confronting. We also liked the photos of rural America and Ghana because they showed not just the faces, but spoke a bit about the socio-economic situation as well.
Some photos will make you think, others smile, a few will make you laugh and a couple will make you feel a deep, heavy sense of empathy. The gray walls and sepia toned photos complement each other well. This exhibit comes highly recommended and it´s going on until August 23rd.