“A new time always needs a new eye,” writes Sergio del Molino in Visit Spain. A post-Franco Spain found its eye in Ramón Masats, whose black-and-white photographs, collected in this new volume by the Spanish publisher La Fábrica, offer a snapshot of a country that re-invented itself over the course of a single decade: 1955 to 1965.
Ruined by Franco, early 1950s Spain was not Hemingway’s playground. Gone were the glory days of bullfighting and flamenco dancers—the economy was in shambles and social divisions were rigid. By 1970, Madrid had almost doubled its population and tourists were flocking to the country.
Masats, who was born in Catalonia, abandoned his plan of taking over the family salted-fish business and chose instead to chronicle the seismic changes he saw in big cities and on the road, traveling first by motorcycle and then behind the wheel of a SEAT 600. The photographs are silent, stirring reminders that Spain didn’t get to be like it is now overnight. —Julia Vitale