FBS Foundation

Fontanella’s Corner

Invitation to the CORNER

Why do we start with a corner?

One of the objectives of the FBS Foundation is the preservation of HISTORICAL MEMORY, and in this respect, we believe it is very important to recognise the personal and material contributions made (and still being made) by a group of researchers who formed the beginnings of the History of Photography in Spain, always from a personal point of view, which does not necessarily have to be shared and which will not necessarily be subject to criteria other than those of the Founders of the Foundation.

On this website we will have very aseptic and neutral areas, but tributes to people who we believe have been, or are, fundamental to the History of Photography will never be neutral.

They will always be noted with the appropriate emotional charge and recognition of how they contributed to preserving our history. This personal burden will be marked both in the vision of their direct contributions in the form of advice, both their own and others’, and in the generosity shown in expanding the knowledge that has been hard to acquire, both for the time and for the use of their own economic resources.

Our page will only have one CORNER as a tribute to Lee Fontanella, which will grow over time.

But it will have many SPACES dedicated to other personalities who, for those of us who have founded this page, meet similar requirements to those of the CORNER personality, which will serve as a key to open this and other sections. Researchers, disseminators, technical specialists, dealers, collectors, many are the people we admire and to whom we would like to pay tribute.

It will be very difficult to establish a common thread and priorities, but we assure you that the people we are grateful to for their contributions to the different Histories of Photography (be they large, small or medium-sized) and their “applicability”, will be included as we go along in the SPACES with the greatest respect and gratitude.

Facts about the Corner

All of us who are dedicated to collecting photography, and especially those who write about it, know who Lee Fontanella is. For those of you who are just starting out, we leave you his details on CORNER.

Young and old researchers, doctoral students and doctors; it is rare that books published by Lee Fontanella do not appear in bibliographies. It is also rare that in certain sectors there are no students who have attended his classes or have been able to attend some of the many lectures he has given in Spain and abroad.

The emotional charge for the Founders of FBS with respect to the Professor, starts from the moment we met him through Carlos Teixidor, because we had some photographs of Laurent and Clifford that could be of interest to him for his work; we were in the early 1980s and Dr. Fontanella’s proximity caught our attention.

From then on the friendship grew, he attended our wedding (12/07/1985) with Camille (his daughter), he introduced us to photographers and researchers, he opened up avenues for us and, during each period of his stay in Spain, we would have dinner or lunch at our house at least once or twice, in the company of other people who formed part of the wide photographic circle of which he was a member. We would also meet for breakfast at Los Caciques, on Gaztambide St., or for lunch at Restaurante Ananías on Galileo 9, both in Madrid.

The icing on the cake of this first stage was his advice and reading of Yolanda’s doctoral thesis. It was a pity that he could not join us for the presentation we made to the examining board (08/03/1994), with Juanjo and Rafael Bernis i Biarnes, because at that time there was no trip scheduled for him to come to Spain.

From this last date onwards we “turned the corner” and our friendship grew stronger because we shared values, fundamentally those that come from being able to converse while respecting all differences and contributing enriching points of view.

Photograph at “Casa Ananias”, dinner in 2007.
Author Juan José Sánchez García.

Today, having “turned the corner”, this “corner” has marked a way to share the FBS Foundation project, because it is not only the shared path but also the bonds that have been generated through it with other people, also very valuable for the Founders, as well as the way in which the collection has been nourished because he has brought from the United States some of the pieces that will be displayed in the space of La Granja.

So, when asked who is Lee Fontanella, Juanjo and I can only answer that he is, first of all, our friend: a magnificent researcher of the History of Photography, a person who detects the value of a photograph where others only see a photographic document, a Professor whose experience and discourse always enriches the listeners, a Historian who shares his knowledge …., but above all, a person of integrity who knows about photography and has been dedicated to it, with passion, for more than 55 years.


What are we going to find in this space?

In CORNER we will see the professional trajectory of the honoree, with some personal points.

Texts that have not been published will be uploaded, in cases where the author allows it; in the case of Lee Fontanella, his doctoral thesis will be uploaded so that the belief that his thesis was devoted solely to photography can be verified (and disproved).

Some of the people who were important to the Founders will be mentioned.  The trajectory, situated on a timeline, will make it possible to delve deeper into some of the activities exhibited, by means of added pages if necessary.

In the CORNER FONTANELLA we will see texts, photos, exhibitions, and we will also include other proposals, such as the one by Ricardo Centellas Salamero regarding the shooting of videos where conversations with Lee Fontanella can be reproduced as Ricardo himself proposes:

The “MEMORY SPEAKS ” project. A series of conversations with Professor Lee Fontanella to unravel two crucial issues:

1) the origins of the professional history of Spanish photography.

2) the history of contemporary hispanism, especially American hispanism

Lee Fontanella, 1983
Photography by David Stark

What will be the evolution of ESPACIOS?

It is evident that the Founders of this Foundation are emotionally invested in this CORNER and the personality to whom it is dedicated; the same will happen with the following SPACES that we set up, maintaining the same philosophy regarding the timelines, the biographies and the achievements of the people to whom we pay homage.

It will be about that, small tributes, where the honorees and their history will be seen, initially marked by the experiences of the Founders (to avoid losing the ties that linked them to Photography).

There will also be other criteria to be taken into account, as the Foundation’s own experiences as an Entity are consolidated; but the qualities of each of the honorees and their professional career will always be highlighted, in order to contextualise their personality and show their human side.