La construcción fotográfica del turismo: el caso de Costa Brava

The 1960s was a crucial period for the development of the mass tourism industry in Spain, whose political, economic and cultural influence had been apparent since the beginning of the 20th century, with the creation of large hotel infrastructures and improvements in the means of transportation and communication. In our study of the specific case of Costa Brava (the Catalan Mediterranean coast near Barcelona), our objective was to determine how photography contributed to creating and reinforcing its image as a tourist destination. We thoroughly reviewed and critically interpreted tourist publications (guides, brochures) and photographic essays about the site. Taking as a reference the graphic illustrations and the tourist literature from the beginning of the century up until the 70's, we analyzed the appearance and evolution of certain recurrent motifs of the touristic images of this area, paying special attention to the photographic works of Françesc Català Roca, Ramón Dimas and, above all, Xavier Miserachs, with their fundamental book Costa Brava Show (1968), which set new standards in the photographic interpretation of tourism as a social and cultural phenomenon, and renewed the picturesque and traditional visions of Spain that photography had offered up to that time. From this review, we explain the fundamental role of the photographic image as an instrument for recording the radical transformations that the phenomenon of tourism generates on the territory and the local culture, as well as the role that photography has had in the processes of defining and constructing stereotypes within contemporary tourist landscapes.