Steidl, 2016. First edition. Hardcover with dust-jacket, 256 pp., b/w illustrated throughout, 250 x 290 mm. Photographs and text by Carlos Saura. Design by Bernard Fischer.
When the great filmmaker Carlos Saura was a young man, he desired to create a book about his native Spain that would transgress the propaganda imagery of the Franco regime. He strove to depict his country as seen through his camera when he set out on a journey through Andalusia and central Spain in his Fiat 600 in the late 1950s. The trip left a deep impression on his first documentary film, “Cuenca” (1958). Since his youth Saura has been fascinated not only by the process of photographing but also by its technology, as demonstrated by his museum-quality collection of hundreds of historical and self-made cameras. Torn between the two media at the beginning of his career, Saura eventually chose to become a filmmaker but has continued to take photographs.
Vanished Spain offers a comprehensive insight into Saura’s photography with a focus on his black-and-white work of the 1950s: compelling images of landscapes, villages, bullfights and people of another era. Photographs of Saura’s diploma film project, “La Tarde de Domingo” (1957), are also present in the book, making it the definitive representation of his photographic oeuvre.