Madrid. Carlos Perez Siquier (Almeria 1930-2021), modernizer and winner of the National Photography Prize 2003, has not created a single pose or artifice in his images. His raw documentary photographs of La Chanca, Almeria, from the late 1950s to the early 70s, as well as his later expressionist experiments with color, are conceptual and thematic antipodes. They all share a common denominator: the truth, simplicity and authenticity that seduce and seduce today’s viewer.

The Mapfre Foundation proposes to take a trip through the rich and vibrant work of Perez Siquier, through nearly 200 images taken between 1997 and 2018. It will be exhibiting in Madrid’s rooms until August 28. This is a stunning retrospective that examines seven decades of work by Perez Siquier, one of the most influential and important photographers in Spain today. He was also co-founder of AFAL and a symbol of honesty and independence.

Carlos Gollonet, and Carlos Martin are the curators for the exhibition. It is part of PHotoEspana 20,22’s official section. This festival celebrates its 25th year. The exhibition takes you on a journey through the work and criticisms of Almeria’s photographer, starting with his first neorealist series, which is marked by acid social criticism. It ends with images that show a vibrant, modernized Spain. A few unpublished images and document archives bring the public closer towards an artist who brought modernity into Spanish photography without fuss.

Perez Siquier did not abandon his status as peripheral artist, and there he established the universality of his work. Perez Siquier lived and worked in Almeria all his life, and he was connected to contemporaries like Joan Colom and Xavier Miserachs, as well as Ricard Terre, and many other artists. He dedicated his National Award in his hometown, not surprising considering how he was at the forefront for Spanish photography since the 1950s.

Perez Siquier, who died a year earlier, supervised the exhibition in Barcelona that was presented before the outbreak of the pandemic. It had to be closed for weeks after it opened. His seven series are arranged chronologically: La Chanca and Chanca In Color (1957-1965), Informalisms (1965), The beach (1972-1980), Traps For Dupes (1981-2001), Encuentros (1991–2002) and La Brisena (2015). The viewer moves from the social periphery of Franco’s developmentalism to the visual changes that result from Franco’s arrival in Spain. These series anticipate British Martin Parr.

Perez Siquier, who was educated at Madrid’s School of Arts and Crafts, began his career as a photographer with the founding of the Almeria Photographic Association. The creation of the homonymous magazine was a landmark in the history and evolution of photography. It placed Almeria at the center of Spanish photographic art.

He was a photographer for more than 30 years. However, he also worked as a bank clerk, which allowed him to become a major supporter of young Spanish photography, along with fellow photographers like Gabriel Cuallado and Ramon Massats, Oriol Masspons, and Alberto Schommer.

His selection of images for the Everfoto’ yearbooks was vital. It brought together the creative efforts of the AFAL generation, and showcased the work of the young talents from the Nueva Lente’ magazine. This made room for the emerging generation of Spanish photographers to participate in international forums.