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Agence VU - José Manuel Navia
José Manuel Navia

José Manuel Navia was born in Madrid in 1957.

José Manuel Navia captures his subjects with a rare and subtle range of colours combining deep blacks with delicate monochromes or strong and striking colours.
While he has had a long relationship with the press, he has always been committed to his approach to colour. Especially since his great love of literature (Lusitanian among others) feeds his photographic creations and transforms his journey into literary ones. He often travels with well known authors and when this is not possible, he plans his voyage in the steps of famous writers ranging from Roa Bastos to Sallinger and García Márquez to Pessõa.

Nothing is bot worthy of his photography, may it be architecture, landscape, street scene, technology or even traditional fishing, as long as he has the time to find the perfect ray of light that will lighten up his subjects at their best and make the colour paramount.

His work is published in several Spanish and European media, maintaining close ties with El País newspaper (where he worked as picture editor in 1995-1996).
His photographs are part of various collections and museums: The Madrid Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Community of Madrid collection, Alcobendas collection, Catedral Santa María Foundation (Vitoria, Basque Country), La Fábrica Gallery (Madrid), The Marugame Museum in Japan, etc.

In 2013, he publishes his book “Nóstos”, the result of more than twelve years of work, which is in some ways a reflection about the essential journey that is life itself. This work was exhibited in Madrid in 2014.


  Travelling : Madrid, Spain

Portfolio

Portraits

Stories

The Colombia of Garcia marquez (2014)

Author and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez always writes about his country, Colombia. In one of his novels 'The General in his Labyrinth', he tells of the last journey of Simón Bolívar -Latin America's liberator- down the Magdalena river, going old and defeated to exile and death. The Magdalena river is a vital artery for Colombia. For many years it was the principal transportation route in the country and it has been the 'mother and father' for the Colombians.

El Greco in Toledo (2014)

This year is being celebrated the fourth centenary of the death of the painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos, El Greco, in Toledo. El Greco was born in the island of Crete in 1541, where he lived until he was 26. Then he stayed for ten years in Italy where he came into contact with the Renaissance painting and then, from 1577, he established in Toledo where he worked and lived until his death. The geography of Toledo (which reminds us the labyrinthine madinahs –old cities- of the Arabic world) and its Semitic spirit, where a Christianity of Eastern influence (Mozarabs), Muslims and Jewish had always coexisted, perfectly attuned to the painter’s taste and needs, and in this city he...

Sicily (2014)

Sicily, the large island that divides into two parts the Mediterranean Sea has been conquered so many times along history by Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Normans, Catalan-Aragoneses, Bourbons, etc. that they made it a land of mixture of peoples and traditions. This is a journey to western Sicily, to some of its oldest maritime cities and its interior rough high lands (what once were the ancient fiefs of Spanish origin), under the guiding hand of writers as Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Norman Lewis, Leonardo Sciascia, Carlo Levi or Vincenzo Consolo that so well understood it.

Timbuktoo's mausoleums (2012)

In Timbuktu, in North Mali, Ansar Eddine’s Salafis undertook the methodical and merciless destruction of the Muslim mausoleums, including the one of Djingareyber Mosque. As they are poised to succeed in their fight against Bamako for the control of the North, those rigorist Muslims have turned against their former Tuareg allies. They now impose the strict rules of an Islam they say as pure. Hence, the city of “333 Saints” is no longer allowed to honour the deceased men and women who made its history. Beyond the material lost of these monuments, condemned by Unesco, Ansa Eddine’s goal is clearly the complete annihilation of a whole part of History through memorial...

Philippines (2011)

Philippines is the less Oriental of the Oriental countries, a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. It was a Spanish colony during almost 350 years, from 1565 to 1898 and a colony of U.S.A. from 1899 to 1946. The Spanish (and Hispanic, via Mexico) influence is very evident, emphasized by the Catholic religion, enthusiastically practiced by the vast majority of the Philippine people. Manila and its metropolitan area (Metro Manila) is the 11th most populous city in the world, with around 25 million inhabitants distributed among the old colonial city of Intramuros and the suburbs like Makati, the country’s financial centre. But to know a country is necessary to go away from the...

With the Indignant, in the centre of Madrid (2011)

Since the protest that took place on May 15, 2011 and that gave its name to the movement of the « indignant » (Movimiento 15-M), thousands of Spanish people are camping on the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid. Born just before the municipal elections of May 22, this movement, which has no conventional political structure, claims its desire to oppose itself to politics as it exists in Spain. In a country where youth unemployment reaches 45 %, the people feel they are not protected nor represented by their elected representatives. But without a concrete structure, this movement can only count on its demonstrators’ determination in order to keep its independence from the system it...

Jose Saramago's books' Portugal and Spain (2010)

« It is not true: the journey never ends. Only travellers stop. And even them, they can get back to it through memories and stories.(…) Go back to the steps they already took, take them again and go new ways. Repeat the journey. Again and again. The traveller always go back to the road. » (J. Saramago) Jose Manuel Navia tells through pictures the story of writer Jose Saramago’s Portugal and Spain, from four of his novels and a travel book he wrote. « Lifted off the ground» and « Journey to Portugal » cover the provinces of Alentejo and Tras-Os-Montes, two of the most authentic ones of Portugal. The pain and struggles of its inhabitants have always been present among...

Tablas de Daimiel National Park, Spain (2010)

Tablas de Daimiel National Park (Parque Nacional de las Tablas de Daimiel) is a nature reserve in south-central Spain on La Mancha plain in the province of Ciudad Real. It is a floodplain wetland in an arid part of Spain created where the Cigüela river joins the Guadiana river. It enjoys international recognition as a wetland on the list of the Ramsar Convention. The European Union designated it a Special Protection Area for birds . It is home to many bird species, some year-round residents, some migratory. Among the flora, aquatic plants are the basic substrate of the Tablas, and the only trees present are the tamarisk trees. It is one of the most important aquatic ecosystems of Spain...

A literary Madrid (2009)

“Un Madrid Literario” (A Literary Madrid) is a project about my own city, in which I have worked between the years 2006 and 2008. It is an exercise of interrelation between photography and literature, in which I photographically track the mark left in the city by several writers that, from Cervantes to our contemporaries, have written on Madrid. And above all, I track the mark that those readings, as well as my own experience, have left on my own look.

Jamaica, the Anglo-Saxon Carribeans (2008)

Jamaica is a British island in the Carribeans, founded by British sailors. Nowadays the Rastafarians are the principal sign of identity in Jamaica. They are waiting the return of the Black messiah Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia, who they believe will make them go back to Africa, the continent they still dream about. Meanwhile, the rastas let their hair grow, smoke marijuana and play reggae music, in memory of the most universal Jamaican, Bob Marley.

World Heritage Spanish Cities (2008)

Spain includes 13 cities classified as UNESCO’s World Heritage. Santigo de Compostela, Tarragona, Salamanqua, Avila, Ibiza, Cordoba, Toledo, Segovia, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Alcala de Henares, Cuenca, and Caceres are the thirteen jewels on the Spanish crown. To celebrate the 15th birhtday of their association (“Spanish Group of World Heritage Cities”), the mayors of those different cities wanted the construction of an exceptional vision on their heritage. Asking José Manuel Navia to cross over the country, they let him a carte blanche to draw a dream city, a fantasized city which lives on the most beautiful things in Spain. From Castilla and Leone and its Chrsitian Kings, to...

Spain, the Ebro river (2008)

The Ebro river rises in Pico Tres Mares in the Cantabrian Mountains, in Cantabria, province of northern Spain, and flows for 910 km in a southeasterly course to its delta on the Mediterranean coast in Tarragona province. The Ebro has the largest drainage basin, at 85,500 square km, in Spain. Because it plunges through the coastal mountain ranges by a series of deep gorges and defiles, the Ebro is only navigable upstream for 25 km from its delta to the city of Tortosa. The Ebro's interior basin is arid, poor, and sparsely populated, though irrigation has been intensified between Tudela and Saragossa (site of the Imperial Canal system, begun in the 16th century) and around Caspe. The upper...

Atlantic Morocco (2007)

This story follows the route between the former colonies of Asilah and Larache, to the north, and Sidi Ifni to the south. the Spanish photographer follow the different waves of colonisation: first Romanian, then Portuguese and Spanish, and finally French. The Marrocan rif protecting the Mediterranean coasts, it's on the Atlantic coast that Navia is tracking down those multiple influences. They seem to express themself on his photographs like games of colours and lights.

Spain, Along the ways of the Cid (2007)

The “Song of My Cid” is a Spanish epic poem of the mid-12th century, similar to “La Chanson de Roland” and other medieval poems, intended to be orally transmitted. It is the earliest surviving monument of Spanish literature, generally considered one of the great medieval epics and one of the masterpieces of Spanish literature. The original manuscript of the poem, believed to have been composed about 1140, has been lost; the earliest existing copy, by Per Abbat, dates from 1307. Distinguished for its realistic tone and treatment of the historical setting and the topographical detail, which allows to follow the Cid’s travels over Castile, Aragón and Valencia, the poem interwines...

Diary of the Niger River (second part) (2006)

Timbuktu, nostalgia for a dream This work is composed of two stories. In the first one, we follow the “Niger bend”, from Mopti to Gao, sailing the river as it carves the huge arc through the desert by using the mode of transport common in Mali: the pinasses and the large boats operated by the Comanav (Compagnie Malienne de Navigation). In the second, we make a half-way stopover to stay in the mythical city of Timbuktu and go deep into the desert to Araouan, following the route of the salt caravans. During the whole journey we follow the traces of the Andalusíes (from Muslim Spain) along the Niger River, and especially in Timbuktu: In the 16th century a mercenary army of Moorish and...

Diary of the Niger River (first part) (2006)

Timbuktu, nostalgia for a dream This work is composed of two stories. In the first one, we follow the “Niger bend”, from Mopti to Gao, sailing the river as it carves the huge arc through the desert by using the mode of transport common in Mali: the pinasses and the large boats operated by the Comanav (Compagnie Malienne de Navigation). In the second, we make a half-way stopover to stay in the mythical city of Timbuktu and go deep into the desert to Araouan, following the route of the salt caravans. During the whole journey we follow the traces of the Andalusíes (from Muslim Spain) along the Niger River, and especially in Timbuktu: In the 16th century a mercenary army of Moorish and...

The Flood, Literary territories of Latin America (2006)

These photos constitute an exhibition that takes place in gallery of the library Biblioteca Jaime Fuster, from 12 of September to 15 of November, 2006. This is part of a photographic project about the literary territories of Latin America in which José Manuel Navia is working from years. Pays : Paraguay, Mexico, Colombia

Mexico, The territories of Juan Rulfo (2005)

For the 50th anniversary of the book "Pedro Paramo" essential work of the Spanish-speaking litterature, Navia is exploring the Mexican territories that inspire author Juan Rulfo in his different novels. Little villages spread in the Jalisco State, South of Guadalajara, Sayula, San Gabriel or Apulco are as many evocating places of an interior Mexico, rural, deep, ancestral. As well as Tuxcauexco, Toliman or San Pedro that inspire the writer for many of his stories.

Southern Caucasus (2003)

At the end of the 80s in the middle of the Soviet Union’s disintegration, the Nagorno Karabakh war confronted the Caucasian republics Azerbaijan and Armenia over the annexation of this mountainous region that separates both countries. Armenia won the war and kept Karabakh (an “in fact” solution that is still not recognized internationally for a war which could break out again at any time) but the irreconcilable hatred between the Armenian people, Christians, and the Azeri, Muslims, who had lived together in both countries without any problems up to then, was already aroused. The wealth of Azerbaijan is the oil of the Caspian Sea, the wealth of Armenia is the Diaspora. But inland,...

The portuguese-speaking world (2001)

The portuguese-speaking world. In many countries portuguese is the mother thongue or the official language. As a consequence, the portuguese language is spoken through the whole world, in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, 200 millions persons speak portuguese in Asia and Africa. Portugal, Brasil, China, Timor East, Angola, Cape verde, India, Mozambique

Camps of the Polisario front in Algeria (2001)

In 1976 Spain abandoned the territory that it had occupied as colony from the beginning of the XXth century, leaving it in the hands of Morocco. But the Saharawis, the indigenous nomadic inhabitants of this Atlantic coastal region of Sahara, didn’t accept this situation, with no historical basis. Organized in the Polisario Front (from Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Río de Oro) they began a long guerrilla war against Morocco, based in camps in Tindouf, Algeria. For 30 years the Polisario has been expecting the referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara. But this referendum, proposed and supported by United Nations, is systematically hindered by...

Bolivia, In the footsteps of Che Guevara (1996)

To the south of Bolivia, between the district of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, we followed the steps of the Cuban guerrilla Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who came to die in this land the 9th of October of 1967 in his last guerrilla adventure. It's possible to go to the places where he spent his last days, to talk with the people who saw him, like the dwarf Virgilia Cabrita, the schoolteacher in La Higuera or the nurse who embalmed his corpse; to cross the ravine where he was seized and go up to the school of La Higuera where he was murdered, or to visit the Vallegrande hospital laundry where his corpse was shown. Che is still a living memory among the inhabitants of Vallegrande and the...

Books

Miguel de Cervantes or the Wish to Live

“In this project, no doubt one of the most personal in which I have been involved to date, I set out to address unreservedly the difficult and fascinating relationship – which for me is essential – between image and word, photography and literature, always on the basis of the importance that I, as a photographer, attach to the idea of the trace (as opposed to that of aura). To explore all this, I took the liberty of working on the life and oeuvre of one of the greatest writers not only of Spain but of universal literature: Miguel de Cervantes. I was incessantly plagued by surprises and uncertainty. It was quite a bold undertaking.” José Manuel Navia.
Text by: José Manuel Navia

Publisher: Ediciones Anomalas (Coedition: Acción Cultural Española) (2015)
144 pages
Size: 24 x 22 cm  

Nóstos

This book, the result of more than twelve years of work, is in some ways a reflection about the essential journey that is life itself, but told through the images of a photographer who has made that journey his chosen path and vocation.
This book is concerned with seeing the world, hoping to recognise rather than discover; to know that by looking we will find ourselves as well in a journey to some extent circular, of a return to the beginning. the Greek word nostos means journey or voyage; departure but above all, return. (Nostos is also the root of nostalgia.) The first nostos was The Odyssey and since then the journey has been the model and metaphor of human life.
Text by: José Manuel Navia

Publisher: Ediciones Anómalas (2013)
176 pages
Size: 24x17 cm  

Un Madrid literario

Jose Manuel Navia nos ofrece un deslumbrante reportaje por los vestigios la ciudad, siguiendo las huellas que los grandes escritores han dejado en la misma. Se acompañan las fotografías de textos literarios que conformarán una narración fascinante sobre la ciudad que nos ayudará a conocerla y revivirla de manera más estrecha.
Text by: Caballero Bonald

Publisher: Lunwerg Editores (2009)
256 pages
Size: 23 x 27 cm

Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad. Trece joyas de Espana


Text by: Gustavo Martin Garzo

Publisher: La Fabrica (2008)
300 pages
Size: 24X33 cm
ISBN :978-84-92498-56-7   

Antonio Machado Miradas

In 2007, the centanary of Antonio Machado's arrival in Soria, is not only an excuse but rather a perfect occasion to rediscover the work of this great Spanish poet. His ideas and his preoccupations on today's world and society, which are to be found in his writings.
Text by: Ian Gibson

Publisher: Caja Duero (2007)
240 pages

Visiones de Marruecos

Un mosaico de miradas complementarias de creadores marroquíes y españoles que, a través de sus objetivos, enfocan y nos acercan a la realidad marroquí.
Text by: Lofti Akalay, Lorenzo Silva, Publio Lopez Mondejar

Publisher: Lunwerg Editores (2006)
200 pages
ISBN :84-9785-345-8   

Journey to History. Spain in 3000 years (Viaje a la Historia)

Ce travail ne prétend pas, évidemment, être exhaustif ou encyclopédique. Il ne cherche pas non plus à recouvrir les événements ou les oeuvres caractéristiques de chaque période historique de façon canonique. Il offre une sélection personnelle des aspects les plus importants de notre passé, tant sur le plan visuel que théorique, concevant l'Histoire comme un long récit qui conditionne et explique également notre présent et notre futur.

Texte de José Enrique Ruiz-Domènec.

Text by: José Enrique Ruiz-Domènec

Publisher: Lunwerg Editores (2005)
284 pages
ISBN :84-9785-212-5   

Diez Miradas/Ten views/ Dix regards

A collective book presenting ten Spanish photographers representations and view on their home country. These are : Castro Prieto, Ricki Dávila, García-Alix, García Rodero, Xurxo Lobato, Lobo Altuna, Ramón Masats, Isabel Muñoz, José Manuel Navia and Miguel Trillo.
Text by: Publio López Mondejar

Publisher: Lunwerg Editores (2005)
204 pages
ISBN :84-9785-167-6   

Territorios del Quijote

La obra Los Territorios del Quijote ofrece una nueva visión de mundo cervantino realizada a partir de las imágenes de uno de los fotógrafos más prestigiosos de la actualidad, José Manuel Navia . El autor reconstruye los caminos reales e imaginarios que recorrieron Don Quijote y Sancho Panza, combinando los datos objetivos con aquellos que son citados por los autores más reconocidos, reinventando de esta manera un territorio visual que es a la vez la suma de lo real y lo soñado, y en el cual se puede identificar el camino de nuestro caballero, y leer el sentimiento del artista.
Text by: Julio Llamazares, Martín de Riquer, González Cuenca, Carlos Alvar, Cesar Antonio Molina

Publisher: Lunwerg Editores (2004)
270 pages
Size: 25x30 cm
ISBN :849785117X   

Desde la catedral

It is now José Manuel Navia's turn with his book 'Desde la Catedral' (from the Cathedral), a work in which he captures into images the physical restoration as well as the restoration of the soul of our old Gothic temple. Internationally well know, his pictures offer a humanised view of the Catedral.
Antonio Aguilar Mediavilla
Text by: Antonio Aguilar Mediavilla

Publisher: Fundacion Catedral Santa Maria (2003)
80 pages
ISBN :84-607-8840-7   

Marruecos

Marruecos es un espejo cuyo reflej no siempre es nitido. Las imagenes que nos devuelve pueden seducirnos o provocar nuestro rechazo. Pero Marruecos y nosotros somos lo mismo, el espejo y el reflejo, lo cotidiano pero tambien lo inquietante.
Text by: José Manuel Navia

Publisher: Altaïr - edition Edicola 62 SL (2003)
128 pages
Size: 27x20 cm
ISBN :84-95907-36-4   

Un viaje a Madrid

Los cinco fotógrafos aquí reunidos han hecho un viaje alrededor de sí mismos y han llegado emocionados a su propio corazón. Es este un viaje a la ciudad de todos. Con sus luces y sus sombras, Madrid siempre será una ciudad abierta.
Text by: gnacio Álvarez Vara, Constantino Bértolo, Rafael Chirbes, Ana Gurruchaga y Manuel Rodríguez Rivero

Publisher: T Ediciones (2003)
50 pages
ISBN :84-86882-10-9   

Pisadas sonambulas : Lusofonias

Pisadas sonambulas es un libro de fotografias construido con admiracion. De la mano de algunos de los mejores escritores portugueses, las imagenes de Navia son una mirada por las huellas de un pais inmenso, poblado de memoria. Un viaje intenso y apasionado, cargado de belleza.

Publisher: La fábrica (2001)
135 pages
ISBN :84-95321-25-4   

Photobolsillo

This book is part of the Collecion PHotoBolsillo, wich publishes every month monographs on the most imporant Spanish photographers in an instructive yet readable format.
Text by: Julio Llamazares, Robert Latona

Publisher: La Fábrica (2000)
ISBN :84-95471-15-9   

Awards


    2006 - Image award - Spanish Geographical Society

    1999 - Godo Award of Photojournalism (Conde de Barcelona Foundation / La Vanguardia newspaper)

    1997 - Society of Newspaper Design Award (U.S.A)

    1995 - Society of Newspaper Design Award (U.S.A)

    1994 - Society of Newspaper Design Award (U.S.A)

    1987 - First Prize Fotopress (and other cathegories in 1989, 1990, 1991), La Caixa Foundation in Spain

Exhibitions



Nostós (Madrid)
From 2014-06-04 to 2014-09-28

Navia shows us his most personal work, revolving around travel, memory and territory The exhibition surveys twelve years’ work by a photographer for whom travel has become both a job and a vocation Nostos, the new project by José Manuel Navia, was over twelve years in the making. In it, Navia reflects on life itself as the essential journey; after making travel both his job and his vocation, he shares his vision of the world with the viewer. The name of the exhibition and the accompanying book—published by Ediciones Anómalas—comes from the Greek term nostos, which expresses the...

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World heritage spanish cities (Avila)
From 2008-09-18 to 0000-00-00

Spain includes 13 cities classified as UNESCO’s World Heritage. Santigo de Compostela, Tarragona, Salamanqua, Avila, Ibiza, Cordoba, Toledo, Segovia, San Cristobal de la Laguna, Alcala de Henares, Cuenca, and Caceres are the thirteen jewels on the Spanish crown.To celebrate the 15th birhtday of their association (“Spanish Group of World Heritage Cities”), the mayors of those different cities wanted the construction of an exceptional vision on their heritage. Asking José Manuel Navia to cross over the country, they let him a carte blanche to draw a dream city, a fantasized city which...

More information...

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