Travelling images towards 1904. Andalusia in Photoglob Co. Zurich postcards.

From July 29 to September 25, 2022

Palacio Abacial. Carrera de las Mercedes s/n. Alcalá la Real (Jaén)

This travelling exhibition has been produced by the Public Foundation El Legado andalusí (The legacy of al-Andalus), this time involving the city hall of Alcalá la Real. It is composed of a careful selection of some of the almost three hundred images of Andalusia that the Swiss firm Photoglob Co. Zürich published up until 1904.

In the early 20th century postcards were a remarkable cultural phenomenon, forerunners of the images that today travel across the internet together with brief texts.

Andalusia had then started to be known worldwide due to an emerging tourism, no longer a place reserved for a few, it was becoming a legacy open to the word. Postcards, as a novel means of communication together with travel books or guides, invited visits to Andalusia and made the region known by showing a new cultural and artistic significance, rediscovering landscapes, urban silhouettes, monuments, customs, and other curiosities from diverse points of view.

Thanks to their wide distribution, these traveler’s images not only imparted urban and historic legacies, together with other curiosities, all within the framework of the tourism market; they also became true signs of identity. The postcards were only printed by using photochrome technique, since colour photography did not exist at the time.

Some of the places photographed by Photoglob Co. Zürich still keep the same feature as they were then, but others have been transformed, for good or ill fortune, as our cities have changed over the last decades much more than in the previous long centuries. This is the reason why we find ourselves before this unique photographic register, which shows us what we once were, and which is crucial to knowledge of the evolution of the urban and architectonic landscape in Andalusia.

Today, these images count on an added value as windows to open memory, inspire nostalgia and document very different spaces.

Curated by architect Antonio Gámiz of the University of Seville, the exhibition one can see in the Palacio Abacial of Alcalá la Real (Jaén), is composed of more than 300 images, among them antique postcards, photochromes, old photographic equipment and engravings of the time, etc., belonging to different private collections, funds of the Foundation El legado andalusí, as well as the Cultural Association Toral-Soler of Alcalá la Real.

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