By Emilio J. Lopez
MIAMI – The search for the unexpected, the surprising and the exceptional is the unifying element of the Agencia EFE’s photographic exhibit on display in Miami to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Spain’s international news agency, a chronicle “under pressure” that presents the human dimension of both minor and major events in history.
Photojournalism on the hunt for real-life situations – in all their harshness and beauty – is to be found in a collection that is both pure and divested of all artifice. That is the essence of the “EFE: 75 Years of History” exhibit that was inaugurated Wednesday at the Mana Studios gallery, in Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood neighborhood art district.
The 75 images do not aspire to be more than they are: a direct testimony of storytelling, revealing episodes of our modern day history through the lens of Agencia EFE’s excellent photojournalists, who range all over the world with their cameras.
“What EFE has done in this exhibit fills me with pride, the best ... archive of modern day Spain, with amazing photos,” including several from postwar Spain, the Iberian nation’s consul general in Miami, Cristina Barrios, told EFE.
Presenting this exhibit in Miami, Barrios said, strikes her as a “very correct, splendid” decision, which will bring to the local public the story of a “plural and interesting (Spain) that had to (be told) in this hemisphere.”
The photographic collection covering the 75 years of EFE’s journalistic life is a direct testimony of “contemporary world history, the collective memory, which is my own history,” Susan Angulo, vice president of St. Thomas University in Miami, one of the institutions sponsoring the exhibit, told Efe with great emotion.
Among her favorite photos, Angulo pointed to the amusing black and white image of Mexican actor Cantinflas on the Plaza de Toros in Chinchon, in Madrid province, during a 1955 filming, and the dramatic photo of a naked boy in the rain on a highway in the Dominican Republic after the passage of Hurricane Dean.
More than 300 invited guests – including figures from the worlds of politics, finance, culture, entertainment and journalism in Miami – attended the opening of the exposition, which will remain on public display for two weeks.
Hard-hitting images from EFE’s huge photo archive, with its more than 17 million images, were selected for the exhibit, including shots of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the devastating passage of Hurricane Katrina through New Orleans and the risky journeys by Hispanic immigrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border.
The large number of journalists on hand from television stations – including Mega TV, Telemundo and TV Marti – and international news agencies such as Reuters and Notimex agreed that the exhibit is a “treasure, 75 years of EFE’s history,” displayed in photos that show “significant events that must never be forgotten.”
“They’re spectacular photos, about the immigration drama, a woman with a U.S. flag. What EFE has done, I say from the heart, is to capture history in articles and in photographs,” Spanish journalist Marian de la Fuente, who lives in Miami, emphasized.
Pablo Tonini, a journalist with Notimex in Miami, emphasized the fact that the Miami community “can appreciate, with this exhibit, EFE’s career in the world as a news agency,” at the same time emphasizing that “many of the Latino questions are represented in the photos” on display.
In the photos about Miami – five of the 75 – can be seen iconic figures from Latino music and culture such as Julio Iglesias, Emilio and Gloria Estefan and Thalia.
Maripily Rivera, a model and host for Hispanic television network Telemundo, said that the exhibit “has great value because it depicts in each photo events that we’ve experienced and that have marked us. They’re spectacular photos.”
“Behind each photo there’s a written story ... and thanks to nameless photographers we can remember it,” Rivera said.
Among the figures from the worlds of music, entertainment and journalism attending the event were singer Vicky Larraz, Henry Santos and Ricky Luis, Salvadoran model Marisela de Montecristo, Keren Sierra, one of the participants on the reality show “Real Housewives of Miami” and journalists Ismael Cala and Pedro Corzo.
On hand from the world of marketing and communications were top executives from Republica, JeffreyGroup, Boden PR and Newlink.
The event was hosted by Agencia EFE President Jose Antonio Vera, Spanish journalist Marian de la Fuente, who lives in Miami, and Robert Rodriguez, the president of U.S. firm NatCom.
The traveling exposition has already visited countries such as Portugal, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina, and on Thursday it will travel to Puerto Rico.