Freedom Spanish Style

Alberto Garcia-Alix is a Spanish photographer who I keep coming across in various tumblr’s and blogs around the interweb.

From what I can gather, he is part of that generation who came of age in post-Franco Spain. Out of this period of free expression was formed an artistic movement known as la movida Madrilena. Although the second word in title refers to Madrid, the movement actually had representatives all over Spain – from Barcelona to Bilbao.

Perhaps the best-known artist from this group would be Pedro Almodovar and there’s something of Almodovar in Garcia –Alix’s work, particularly in the exaggerated gestures, naked vulnerability and flamboyant sense of style.

The work that appeals to me most of all is the portraits of creative types.

They are done documentary style but still somehow have a fashion sensibility that reminds me of some of the more candid imagery of Hedi Slimane crossed with Ruven Afanador.

It’s clear that Garcia-Alix knows many of his subjects because there’s a palpable sense of comfort in his presence that allows them to show who they really are.

You can almost feel the sense of excitement of people finally being free to behave as they had always wished. As if they are doing it for all the poor souls who lived and died under Franco and never got the chance.

The parallel would be with kids in sixties Britain finally being able to cut loose after decades of depression, war and austerity.

As an aside, it always interests me when some Americans talk about freedom they tend to be thinking of the right to own semi-automatic weapons in the home. Whereas for most in the world freedom means the right to artistically express themselves, usually in ways that would shock the Pope. Which is my view is no bad thing.

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