Saturday, 25 March 2017

Alcalá de Henares: 1935 - 1970

Martin Santos Yubero was a Spanish photographer who worked as photojournalist in Madrid in the 20th century.

Autoportrait of Martín Santos Yubero

Those are some chronological data about his life:

1903 - He was born in Madrid.

1915 - He acquires his first camera (a box camera Kodak). It costs him 100 pesetas (about 0.60€) and he use it to take pictures of models in beauty contests.

1920 - He worked as a bullfight photojournalist.

1931 - The Second Spanish Republic began. New political times that Santos Yubero could catch with his camera.

1933 - He changes his large format camera for a 35mm one while he continued working as photojournalist (not only for bullfight events) for Spanish press.

1936 - The Spanish Civil War began, and Santos Yubero return to large format cameras to cover the conflict.

1939 - 1975 - After Spanish Civil War, Spain is ruled as a dictatorship.

1994 - He died in Madrid.

From February 15th to April 15th some of the pictures taken by Santos Yubero and his team are exposed in Alcalá de Henares. They are pictures related with the city that show the pass of the time along the 20Th century: through a republic (presided by Manuel Azaña, who was born in Alcalá de Henares) and a dictatorship.

Author: Martín Santos Yubero. Year: 1941. Place: University of Alcalá de Henares. Description: Soldiers in the National SEU council.
Source: Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. Sig.038007_037.

Author: Martín Santos Yubero. Year: 1955. Place: Alcalá de Henares. Description: Cattle show.
Source: Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. Sig. 013025_006.

Author: Martín Santos Yubero. Year: 1960-1970. Place: Alcalá de Henares. Description: Huertas St.
Source: Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. Sig.023404_011.

Author: Martín Santos Yubero. Year: 1960-1970. Place: Alcalá de Henares. Description: St Bernard arch.
Source: Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. Sig.023404_021.

Author: Martín Santos Yubero. Year: 1960-1970. Place: Alcalá de Henares. Description: Mayor St.
Source: Archivo Regional de la Comunidad de Madrid. Fondo fotográfico Martín Santos Yubero. Sig.023404_079.

I love that kind of pictures. Old photos showing known places several years before I met them.

The exposition has been a little small (only 21 images are shown), but it also has been interesting. I've seen there scenes of complicate political times, a nude train station (only rails on the sand), the 'Ecce Homo' hill watching how people of Alcalá lived his parties, cattle on the road, etc.

About photography, I like very much the composition of some of his pictures. Some times they have a large depth, with interesting vanishing points. I also like the dynamic range in old pictures. You can view in this pictures details in high and low lights, even in backlighting.

A nice exposition that you can view in Alcalá until April 15th.

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Sources:

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Souls from Alameda

Torres de la Alameda is a little town in Madrid (Spain). Its history has been contemplated by Romans, Visigoths, Arabs ... In the Middle Ages it was a little village dependent of Alcalá de Henares. In 1555 it acquired some privileges and it was added to Madrid Community in 1833.

Today we can view some industrial activity. We also can notice some rests of industrial activity from the past. Several factories in the zone are abandoned and they are now in ruins. It is the case of the old ceramic factory.


Torres de la Alameda is a serene place with a beautiful church (16th century).



Following the M-220 road we find a old ceramic factory close to the town. In 50's, the build industry was strongly increasing in Spain. Some municipals of this zone began to built several ceramic factories(1), forming the called "brick triangle" (a triangular area between Alcalá de Henares, Torrejón de Ardoz and Loeches). The density of ceramic factories in the triangle was very high. Later, the build industry had a crisis and much of these factories had to close(2). Now, we can view their ghostly skeletons.

I show below some pictures of my last session in one of these ghostly building.


















Graffiti, urban poesy, industrial waste, shotgun shells, airsoft ammunition and much more in this large ghost from the past.

"Something demolished, something to rebuild.
Untie knots for a new beginning.
Leave the old version of yourself
to find a new way
in the demolished asphalt."


~ Free translation of a painting in a wall of this factory ~


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(1) Source (in Spanish): https://www.madrimasd.org/cienciaysociedad/patrimonio/rutas/arqueologia/Memoria/Memoria-barro/resurgir.asp?pest=3
(2) Source (in Spanish): https://www.madrimasd.org/cienciaysociedad/patrimonio/rutas/arqueologia/Memoria/Memoria-barro/trazas.asp?pest=4

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Montenegro's longest night


Last summer I wrote about an abandoned factory where you could find interesting pieces of urban art and industrial ruins. I took some black and white pictures then, with my Nikon D7000 and the 8mm fisheye, and I shown them in a post called "The Old Factory". I think it's a very interesting place to make photography. In middle of a shopping area, an industrial wasteland is hidden and it seems like nobody can notice it.

Now, some months after, I've decided to come back with new gear (my Nikon D810 and my SAMYANG 14mm) and in a different conditions (at night). I show below my pictures of this wonderful forgotten place.











I would like to make some non photographic commentaries about the above pictures:

I really like the presence of Ralph Wiggum, the popular character of "The Simpsons", with his pyjama upside down.

I've recently discovered why urban artists were mysteriously interested in the time "4:20" (it appears in other pictures I've taken before, as in this series). What happens at 4:20? Is it siesta time in Spain? I can read in Wikipedia that "The Waldos" (a group of students from California) had a meeting to consume cannabis every day after class (at 4:20 p.m.). The term "four-twenty"  is used now related at the consumption of cannabis.

Finally, I would like to draw attention to waste in this place and others. These abandoned areas are used to bring in industrial wastes like it was a dump. When I went there for first time, there was the industrial waste produced by the own progressive destruction of this factory. Now, you also can find garbage from other places accumulated there.

Urban landscape is modelled by the economical factor. One day is a prosperous factory, next day is an abandoned place, and after, a dump. We are observers of these changes, and here I've tried to bring you registers abut some of these steps in the infinite road to the future.

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