Josep Planas i Montanyà
The photographer of the boom
Millions of images by Josep Planas i Montanyà bear witness to the evolution of Mallorcan society and tourism. The photographer’s granddaughter, Marina Planas, has initiated the recovery of a very promising archive in the storerooms of Casa Planas.
text Marina Planas
photography Archivo Planas
We have no recourse to reference our past other than our own memory; without it, we cannot know if something happened and it is at this point that a person cannot be constituted as such, or realise him or herself as an individual.
My grandfather, Josep Planas Montanyà (Cardona, Barcelona, 1924 – Palma, 2016), came to Mallorca in 1945. That was when he settled on the island with the aim of becoming a professional in the photography trade. On 28th October 1947, he opened his first specialist photography shop in Calle Colón. This moment marked the beginning of the evolution of a company that would come to have more than 14 establishments and over 300 employees. Casa Planas produced millions of images from the era when the tourist boom arrived. The evidence is plain to see. Today, the warehouses of Casa Planas are packed with filing cabinets, framed and unframed photographs, negatives and over two thousand different makes and models of cameras that my grandfather used and collected.
His camera captured the development of tourism and the economy of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The history of the photography of the Balearic Islands is closely linked to this figure who introduced colour and the concept of industrial photography to our autonomous community. His great passion for the Mediterranean resulted in a collection of images of different beaches, still pristine. He was also the first European photographer to buy a helicopter, enabling him to capture an aerial perspective. With these photographs taken from upon high, we can now make a comparison of the impact caused on coastal areas due to construction, or see a city – Palma – in full expansion mode, the actions of the Plan Alomar and the restructuring of Calle Antoni Maura, amongst other images of great documental value.
Planas published in different magazines: front covers of Cort and Arte Fotográfico, Baleares, Fotogramas, Primer Plano, Fiesta Deportiva, Destino, Serra d’Or, La Vanguardia, Diario de Mallorca, Última Hora... From 1960 to 1973 he was the correspondent for Televisión Española in the Balearic Islands. He also photographed intellectuals like Blai Bonet, Joan Miró or Camilo José Cela, politicians, royal families or showbusiness people such as Jean Fontaine or Charles Chaplin. He was the only person permitted to photograph Francisco Franco during his visit in 1955, and he captured the image of the visit by King Juan Carlos I to the Cathedral in 1953.
We have also found many photos of [...]