Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jacques Leonard

In 1950 French photographer Jacques Leonard - already well known for his adventures as an intrepid traveler, racehorse trainer, filmmaker, and writer - fell in love with the painters' model Rosario Amaya. Amaya was a Gypsy, and had grown up in a Romani shanty-town on the edge of Barcelona. Together they settled in the neighborhood, from where he continued his career and conducted a lifetime study of the community around him. For the rest of his life, between the 50s and 70s, Leonard had the unique opportunity to document the quotidian life and customs of the well

guarded Gypsy community who lived in the Montjuic barracks of Barcelona.

His legacy remained in storage for years, until 2009 when his children discovered thousands of negatives and handed them to the Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona. The Leonard archive held nearly 18,000 negatives, including more than 3,000 studies, portraits and snapshots of the gypsy community he lived with. The Arxiu Fotogràfic opened the enlightening exhibition Jacques Leonard: Gypsy Barcelona on June 2nd. The show runs through January 2012.

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