José Ortiz Echagüe is one of the leading figures in twentieth century Spanish photography; his work received international acclaim for its unique if unclassifiable style. Though his photographs share certain features of the pictorialist approach—use of pigmenting techniques, careful compositions, formal treatment of images—he regarded his work as documentary in purpose, and photographed local people in their natural setting.
North Africa looks at his less-known early work, carried out in northern Morocco. It includes aerial photography, to which he devoted a great deal of time, as well as portraits and land- scapes which record the living conditions and traditions of the inhabitants of the Rif. The exhibition focuses on the projects that gave rise to his mature work, classified into four major thematic series collected in his books Types and Costumes (1930), Spain, peoples and landscapes (1939), Mystic Spain (1943) and Spain, castles and fortresses (1956).