“In 2001 I bought a few envelopes containing negatives at a flea market in Barcelona, Spain,” writes Tom Sponheim. “When I got back to the US, I scanned the negatives and discovered that the photos were taken by a very talented photographer.”
Tom issued a request: “Can you help me identify the people in the photos and the name of the photographer?”
Tom’s search paid dividends.
Begoña Fernández found Tom’s Facebook page on which the album is featured and got to work. She identified the school in some of the images. Looking through the archives at the Agrupació Fotográfica de Catalunya (AFC), Begoña found a photo from Tom’s collection in a 1962 article on the IV Provincial Photography Contest. Captioned Fervor (below), the picture of a woman deep in prayer had claimed fourth place in a 1961 competition. The photographer was Milagros Caturla.
Begoña Fernández reveals more of her investigation in an article from 24/03/2017. A photograph collector and shopper at Barcelona’s Els Encants flea, Begoña came upon Tom’s find via friends who alerted her to the photos.
She quickly identified the school as Carmen Tronchoni, known locally as Els Tres Pins. A search for the school in old newspapers turned up a November 4 1961 article in La Vanguardia. It told of a photography contest. But she could find no word on the winners. Begoña went to the archives of the Agrupació Fotográfica de Catalunya. There, in the AFC’s March 1962 magazine, she spotted “Fervor”, Milagros Caturla’s winning entry.
Milagros Caturla Soriano was born in Barcelona on March 9, 1920, the seventh of ten children. She qualified as a teacher in 1940, but did not work as such. She studied dressmaking and ran a dressmaker’s shop at her parents’ home.
On October 26, 1957, she became a member of the AFC.
She died single and without children on March 28, 2008 in Sant Cugat del Vallés.
The woman who kept a darkroom in her Barcelona flat, left behind another legacy, a set of images that show her talent for putting people at ease and capturing a fleeting moment. Her photographs are sublime.
Via: Emily Beat Photography, Tom Sponheim