Joan Guerrero, the photographer of the committed look

He always left his house with the camera.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 April 2024 Wednesday 04:25
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Joan Guerrero, the photographer of the committed look

He always left his house with the camera. She had gotten used to seeing the world through the lens. Joan Guerrero only forgot her camera on one occasion. That day, walking through the streets of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, she saw “a very black black man on a bench cradling a very white baby” and was unable to take the photo. He never again neglected his photography equipment.

Guerrero, who died yesterday at the age of 84, knew since he was a child that photography was his vocation. In his native Tarifa, where he was hungry, he could not have a real camera. But he didn't care. He “took a box of matches, made a square in it and shot at a ship stranded on the beach.”

He also took imaginary photos: “In the wind that is the friend of hunger, Antonio Machado with Leonor, his young wife, already very ill, in a wooden cart made by the poet walking along the banks of the Duero...”, he explained in a photo. interview given to La Vanguardia last year.

The future photographer settled in Santa Coloma de Gramenet in 1964. He worked on the Tibidabo road, but he never forgot his dream. And the dream came true. He published the first photograph of him in Grama magazine in 1969. Afterwards he worked for many other media: La Vanguardia Magazine, El Periódico, Diari de Barcelona, ​​El País or El Observador.

He learned to refine the technique thanks to the great masters of cinema such as François Truffaut, Luis Buñuel and Vittorio de Sica, whom he admired not only for how they told things, but for the things they told. Because Guerrero knew that technique was important, but he was convinced that human stories were much more important. And little by little he created his own look. The committed look.

His particular way of seeing the world, his social commitment, took him to Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador or Brazil, because Guerrero was aware that images cannot change the world, “but they can stir consciences.” He was also convinced that to exercise that committed gaze it was not necessary to go far, that the stories were around the corner, in the streets of his city, Santa Coloma de Gramenet.

“It is in Santa Coloma where I am excited to take photographs,” he confessed to his friend Agustina Rico after retirement: “I walked the streets with my camera attentive, on the lookout for the moment, like a good hunter willing to wait patiently for the right moment.”

Guerrero had to overcome the loss of a son and filled “the seas with tears,” but he considered himself a “lucky” man and was grateful for having found his wife, “who loved me very much.” “We have a little house. "We are kings!" said the man who knew how to create poetry with photography.

Guerrero's funeral will take place this morning at 11:15 at the Santa Coloma funeral home.