A Geometry of Bodies: Women and the Raval in Catalan Female Photography (1950-2012)


  • Olga Sendra Ferrer Wesleyan University


This article constructs and analyzes a genealogy of photography created by women in Barcelona, specifically in the space of the Raval, between 1950 and 2012. The selection of this period and space attempts to offset the construction of masculine genealogies from the 1990s inspired by the earlier work undertaken by photographers of the Catalonian Nova Vanguarda, who privileged Barcelona as their focus. The reading of these female photographers’ work uses gender and urban spatial theories applied to both their photographs as well as the Raval itself in order to show how the gaze constructs bodies that are urban, feminine, and by extension theoretical. To that end, this analysis seeks to examine how the female gaze questions and reworks male-reified structures that have defined both women and space, specifically in the Raval. In doing so, the article demonstrates how the distancing effect implicit in the gaze removes materiality from the body, but also grants it by making the female body visible in social, urban, and cultural spaces.