Inaki Bergera Serrano*, Lucia C. Perez Moreno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


As it somehow happens when we deal with the photography of architecture, in any portrait there is a first substantial interest on documentation on an attempt to capturing the qualities of any person. During the 1960s, the Spanish Architectural magazine Nueva Forma used portraits on its covers. A criterion that contrasts with its contemporary magazine Arquitectura whose photographer, Paco Gomez, made a significant number of portraits of well-known Spanish architects of the period. Both cases are used in this text to analyze this genre under the scope of Spanish Architecture and, along with other references, articulate a reflection on critical aspects related to photography and, particularly, on the portraits of architects.

From 1959 to 1974, Paco Gomez was the official photographer of Arquitectura, the main journal of Spanish architecture based in Madrid. Along with Joaquin del Palacio -Kindel-, or Francesc Catala-Roca, he was the visual reporter of that brilliant modern architecture of the period. In editorial line with Carlos Miguel, he illustrated the magazine with photographs of an imaginary alternative: chips walls, boxes, graffiti, wasteland with people, suburbs, and everything that extracted from its context and dotted with plastic counterpoint of a detail brought a new neorealist visual poetics. Also, his portraits show an emphatic and selective concentration of the essential qualities of the character. The portrait is understood as a visual essay of literary court, where stage, clothing, drawings or models are also a narrative element. Armed with the camera, the photographer "assaults" the portrayed and forces him to unfold himself into reality and appearance.

Juan Daniel Fullaondo used photographs of Numay, Catala Roca, Carlos Jimenez or Perez Aparisi, among others, to document the pages of Nueva Forma, the magazine he ran from 1967 to 1975. Therein, he opted to enhance the character of the architects using portraits as the key graphic feature on many covers. His impulsive rejection to histories based on series of buildings selected by the writer in favor of accounts written through the authors' career, led him to a biographical and psychological approach to the characters published in the journal. The need to classify and 'face' modern Spanish architects led him to use portraits as the best visual narrative to vindicate a certain model of professional.

The photographer Richard Avedon says that the best photos are those of people who met at the very moment of shooting them. Meanwhile, Dorothea Lange affirms that a portrait is always a self-portrait of the photographer, whereas a portrait could be alienating and dishonest. Between an honest portrait and an alienated one, or between Paco Gomez and Nueva Forma, there is a paradoxical tension that could denote suggestive interpretations when they are used by stories of architecture.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Photography
  • portrait
  • Francisco Gomez
  • Nueva Forma
  • Juan Daniel Fullaondo

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