Whilst researching for striking images I came across the two below by the same photographer. Hans Gutmann was German by birth and upbringing, but came to Spain at the time of the Revolution* and changed his name to Juan Guzmán. He was a war photographer and spent his time with the International Brigades. Apart from that I can find very little about him.
The first photograph is of the Catholic priest Martin Martinez Pascual.
The photograph was supposedly taken immediately before his execution on 18th August 1936. He is counted as a martyr amongst some Catholics and is supposed to have called out “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King”) before he was killed. I can’t substantiate the claims about when this photo was taken nor about his last words; however, if there is any truth in that it is indeed a remarkable photo. The subject is relaxed, hands on hips, looking directly at the camera, and there is even a smile on his face. It’s a picture of courage. The Catholic apologist on whose blog I found the photo said of Guzmán, “We may assume that he was a communist”. Fair bet, although I can find no record of his having been a combatant.
The second picture is of the Miliciana Maria Jinesta.
Maria was a member of the Socialist Militia associated with the UGT** and she is pictured here on a high spot in Barcelona, again in 1936. Again the subject is smiling and looking directly at the camera. It is almost as though Guzmán’s technique is to get his subjects to look directly at the camera, saying “Show us who you really are, show us your truth”. How much his photographs are contrived or staged, beyond this liking for the full face, I couldn’t say.
As I say, very little seems to be known about Gutmann/Guzmán. His work is virtually unknown in his native Germany. He survived his time in Spain and WW2 and his death date was possibly 1982 (which would put these images outside public domain) but again I can’t confirm that. The latest photo of his that I have seen was of Frida Kahlo in 1951. Anyhow, I want to mark his work here, and that’s that.
* Better known as the Civil War, but it was in fact a revolutionary situation first and foremost.
** Unión General de Trabajadores (General Union of Workers)