Cristina García Rodero
Spain, 1949
Cristina García Rodero has captured more images of folklore and religious rites in Spain than any other photographer. Her ambiguous style intertwines the many facets of festivities with a touch of mystic introspection. Her acclaimed work in the field of visual ethnography goes beyond the bounds of sociology and often acquires great artistic depth. Her magical eyes -catalysts for strikingly beautiful moments- have a cunning ability to mislead and somehow manage to spirit away hidden things that would go unnoticed by a customary gaze. Cristina García Rodero began photographing festivals and rituals in Spain in 1973, at a time when Franco’s dictatorship viewed such work as a satirical, comic portrayal of traditional values. She tells the story of the country in the dying years of the dictatorship: while urban society was taking giant strides in terms of industrialisation and development, rural areas were being left behind. History is said to be the greatest of ghosts, and behind history -behind the events that interest historians- lie legends. España oculta [Hidden Spain] (1989) is the living account of change in a country often portrayed as “deepest, darkest Spain”, where matters like religion, family and tradition are deeply ingrained. She photographs the world like a theatre, a stage on which the characters performing the actions are the only thing that matters: people in the spotlight and their shadows. The consubstantial marvel in Cristina García Rodero’s photographs is that nothing happens by chance- the scene is all real. Photography does not always manage to find its way out of these labyrinths, since reality is all too malleable in the hands of fiction. But it is in reality that truth hides and onto which fiction is projected.
Lola Garrido