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Barcelona’s Art Scene Focuses on Photographer Manuel Outumuro

Image and video hosting by TinyPicFor an art lover, maker, or otherwise, staying on top of Barcelona’s creative scene can be a full time job. The city is a powerhouse in terms of culling together the art world’s best and up and comers are highly regarded alongside their established — and often dead — counterparts.
This past week alone I counted three major ferias in action including LOOP (international video art fair), Swab (emerging contemporary art fair) and BAFF (Barcelona Asian Film Festival). Two Saturdays ago, Barca also hosted El Nit dels Museus, when all of the major artistic institutions kept their doors until after midnight, offering free admission to all.  The week before I stumbled upon Comix, the international comic festival, which I found completely by accident on my way to La Caixa Forum for the Federico Fellini exhibit. The truth is the novio almost ran over a bunch of kids suited up as characters from the film Kick-Ass as they bolted out in front of the moto in the crosswalk. In fact, thinking back, the whole scenario of our run-in looked like a wacked out version of a Fellini procession scene, which he commonly wove into his movies.
I didn’t make it to three aforementioned festivals but I did attend the Disseny Hub Barcelona to view ‘’OUTOMURO LOOKS: twenty years of fashion photography.’’ There were over 200 large format photos taken by the Espanol fashion photographer, Manuel Outumuro. I had never heard of the hombre so this was a sweet discovery. From the caliber of images, celebrity faces and designer frocks featured in the exhibit I would rank Senior Outumuro among the likes of Testino, Meisels and Demarcheleir’s of the world. The selected photos where chosen based on their visual relationship with art history, graphic design, cinema, architecture and other artistic disciplines.

I glided through the gallery, which was divided into six different spaces: Entornos (environments), Retratos (portraits), Blanco y Negro (no explanation needed), Secuencias (sequences), Poses y Actidudes (poses and attitudes), Celebrities. It was an easy show to digest. Beautiful clothes, beautiful bodies and faces. Beauty in all its splendor is always pleasing to the eye.  Nevertheless, like our favorite celebrities, rock stars or male models, I too had my favorites of the show.

The printed images that struck a chord with me were those I encountered first in Entornos. The photos were striking because of the juxtaposition of the environment and the model and her chosen pose and positioning. There was a spectrum of real environments from serene natural settings to chaotic urban environments to surreal man-made architectural locations. The human figure, whether still or moving and the treatment of the lighting coupled with the setting somehow made me feel like I was actually standing alongside Outumuro when he shot the photo. That doesn’t happen so often especially after years spent flipping through fashion magazines.  In most cases I guess the show completed its purpose, to make me covet every little bauble, boot and outfit artfully styled on the glossy pages.

However never once did I say, ‘wow, what a beautiful photo.’

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