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The heat has reached Madrid. Overnight we swapped winter shoes for sandals. Thermometers go from 20 to 40 with incredible ease. And the cultural offer went up in the same way as temperature degrees, because Photoespana has arrived, the fifth edition of the photography festival which this year houses a total of 61 exhibitions and is taking place in different halls, galleries and museums in Madrid, with Paseo de la Castellana as the main focal point.

This year, the theme of Photoespana is “Females. Identity from the perspective of gender.” The exhibitions have been divided into two sections, the Official Section, in which the majority of the exhibitions are included and which explicitly follow the festival theme, and the Festival Off, with some exhibitions that have been included within the festival although they do not strictly adhere to the “female” theme.

Many names can be found throughout these 61 exhibitions: Elliot Erwitt, Lilian Bassman, Elina Brotherus, Daniela Rossell… the retrospective by Nan Goldin which brings together 350 images by the artist, Helmut Newton with his individual way of portraying the female gender and which under the title of “Work” includes almost 400 photographs by the artist, amongst which his famous erotic series “Big Nudes” is included, “Visiones del Islam” by the Iranian photographer, Abbas, who has travelled Muslim countries to photograph the daily life of their people, “Chicas vs abuelas” (teenagers vs grandmothers) which presents the photographs of adolescents by Nobuyoshi Araki and Hellen van Meene, contrasted with the “senoras mayores” (old ladies) by Miwa Yanagi and Manabu Yamanaka, the Brazilian Beth Moyses who presents “Memorias del afecto”, where she analyses the relationship between men and women…

As well as exhibitions, the festival has parallel activities, such as the Video Exhibition performed by female artists such as Vanessa Beecroft, Georgina Starr, Pipilotti Rist…) and the Discoveries Section dedicated to the discovery of new values. There are also photography workshops which will be given this year by Nan Goldin, Susan Meiselas, Pedro Meyer and Carolee Schneemann. One of the most successful sections is the Photomaraton. Last 27th June the streets of Madrid were full of amateurs with Polaroid cameras, the challenge to find five faces of “the female”. In addition, there are guided tours, night-time showings in the Conde Duque Cultural Centre and, finally, the PHE02 prizes. This year, Nan Goldin has received the most important prize of the festival, the Photoespana 2002 Prize, Tanit Plana has been the winner of the Discoveries Prize for her work on old age and Paco Gomez Garcia has won the Injuve prize for photographer of the festival with a reflection on fictitious universes.

Visit the website for the detailed information.

Text and Photos: Terevision Ruiz from Neo2 Magazine

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