Petricor by Joaquin Bas Ros

The 20 photographs that compose this portfolio are part of those included in Petricor, a photobook that aims to be a mirror of what is sadly beginning to be known as "Empty Spain".

The 20 photographs that compose this portfolio are part of those included in Petricor, a photobook that aims to be a mirror of what is sadly beginning to be known as “Empty Spain”.

During the more than three years that we spent getting to know our rural Spain from the inside, we discovered hundreds of villages and hamlets scattered throughout most of our provinces. In that pilgrimage, we found villages with only their skeletons left in final decomposition or old farmhouses still erected by twisted oak trees eaten away by time. In Villalbilla, only its hermitage remained erect and vigilant of the lands that once nourished its inhabitants.

The project was intended to show the bitter reality of the villages of rural Spain where the needs of subsistence, health, education and communication are still not included in the plans of social equalization that the democratic Administrations have the obligation to carry out, with the social and moral co-responsibility of each one of us.

The Administration gives its word, promises them, balloons of hope that explode in the nothingness of the future. We, the society, limit ourselves to listen with compunction to a rural reality that saddens us but that we find distant and alienated, nonetheless attractive, since we include it in our weekend and vacation plans.

Therefore, walking through hundreds of villages, where the number of their inhabitants is progressively scarce, we can see in their furrowed faces and in their words that with their deaths, their villages and their stories will die. “Although there remains the hope of a new generation coming from the cities that bets on a return to the small rural communities.” 

His fondness and interest for photography appeared very early. He was born in Redován (Alicante, Spain). During the fifties, when he was still a child, with the savings he had accumulated by working on weekends, he acquired a compact Bakelite camera with four fixed diaphragms and a standard speed of 1/120, using it for photographing friends and festive events, in which the neighbors of Redován were the protagonists. Evidently, he did not keep those negatives, although he still preserves or is shown some photos of that epoch.

Adolescence separated him from photography, and he did not return to it until the end of the eighties, resuming it actively and impetuously. When he took up photography again, he had to resort to self-learning, since the photographic groups were located in important cities and the informative and formative media were limited to photography magazines.

His first collections, close to impressionism and photographic surrealism, belong to his first phase. After this, Joaquín refined his technique and achieved an extraordinary mastery of light, moving towards a photography where people, especially his people, are the protagonists. He has always said, based on that television program entitled “Cine de barrio”, that his photography only has the reach and scope of personal proximity. It is in this proximity where he knows how to capture the soul of the people he places in front of his camera. Joaquín combines the portrait series with a traveling and of-the-street photography, with which he captures in an evident, sometimes unorthodox way, the life that moves through the places and towns he visits. [Official Website]

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