PhotoEspana 2008, Madrid
Taking ‘Place’ as its theme, this year’s PhotoEspaña festival in Madrid had an array of varied and interesting exhibitions scattered throughout the city.
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The Thomas Demand retrospective was one of the main draws, his methodical paper recreations of real-life scenes and environments are always impressive and somewhat eerie.
Florian Maier-Aichen’s large-scale experimental landscape photography on show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was a must-see, as was the ’Committed Places: Topography and Actuality’ group show, containing work by Taryn Simon, Walter Niederymayer and Beate Gütschow among others. More low-key but still rewarding was Roni Horn’s Icelandic series at the Circulos de Bellas Artes.
However, the real standout show was a major W Eugene Smith retrospective, which included not just key landmark photographic essays from throughout his career, but also sketches and designs for layouts of his epic Pittsburgh series.
Master of capturing the droll and ironic in social situations, Martin Parr was awarded the Baume & Mercier Award 2008 in recognition of the influence he has had on contemporary photography – both for his personal vision as a photographer and for his film and publishing projects.