Saturday, 24 April 2010



Another bad new. Spanish photo agency disapears absorved by Getty images.



In 1982 I photographed for Cover the Spanish Parliament elections that ended with the victory of Felipe González. After returning to Barcelona, my Cover’s friends sent me this photo that I kept in the trunk of memories.

In 1978 Jordi Socías and I travelled to Paris to contact the agencies whose model we want to emulate: Sygma, Gamma and Viva. With the latter, already disappeared, we had talks with some of their photographers. When Viva closed, some of its members as Martine Franck, Richard Kalvar and Guy Le Querrec joined Magnum. Cover was bought recently by Jupiter Images, which in turn was bought by the giant Getty. It was inevitable. Sygma and Gamma that, in the seventies, made Paris the capital of world Photojournalism were swallowed in the nineties by Corbis and Hachette respectively, agencies that were interested basically in their stock, not in the production of news pictures. Bui Doan explained it in his Nouvel Observateur article, Requiem for the photo agencies: photographers will become increasingly simple content providers. Interchangeables. Like Bernard Bisson who after having published the cover of Time with a picture of Afghanistan, received a congratulatory message from Corbis. A few days later, he was fired, as all the other photographers from the agency. It hurts being thrown out like a Kleenex. And yet, what happens here is sadly banal. We are like the steel workers. Like Moulinex’s. Slaughtered in the globalization’s chess board. It's that simple.

Cristina Arias, head of the stock, and that’ll have to leave Cover next October, after 20 years at the agency, sent me this photo, took by Antonio Suarez in 1979, showing all of us, Cover photographer’s, already in our twenties or almost. Many friends and many memories. Above all, you can see the two founders, Jordi Socías and Aurora Fierro. I am on the front row between Quim Llenas and Benito Román. Do you recognize me? The photo was taken 30 years ago.

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