“Isabel Azkarate”, retrospective exhibition in San Sebastián


A retrospective of Isabel Azkarate, considered the first female photojournalist in the Basque Country, is inaugurated, which presents her essential photographic legacy still little known to the general public and which is now coming to light to complement the history of women photographers of the 20th century.

The exhibition titled “Isabel Azkarate” can be visited from December 2, 2023 to February 25, 2024 in the Artegunea room of the Kutxa Fundazioa, located in the Tabakalera building in Donostia / San Sebastián.

The exhibition, produced by Kutxa Fundazioa and curated by Silvia Omedes, director of the Photographic Social Vision Foundation that represents the photojournalist, presents more than 300 photographs, many of them unpublished and taken by Isabel Azkarate between 1978 and 2006, and shows two videos with 155 photographs taken throughout her life on her travels around the world and in her home environment.

Professional career of Isabel Azkarate

The retrospective exhibition is articulated in 7 thematic areas that summarize a professional career of more than 40 years, encompassed under the titles «Barcelona», «La experiencia americana», «Documentando la noticia», «La vida en Euskadi», «Circo. Sin máscara ni artificio», «Arte y parte» y «Una vida, un viaje».

Among other images included in the exhibition, we find her testimony of the most violent and painful stage of terrorism in the Basque Country as a staff photographer for the newspaper La Voz de Euskadi, and of the bloody Sendero Luminoso attacks in Ayacucho, Peru, but also her vision of the photogenic city of New York in the early eighties, where she captured unique characters in streets and parks, in circuses and LGTBI+ parties.

She also reviews her fruitful relationship with the world of art, portraying the public’s reactions to various artistic expressions, or capturing the glamor and also the intimacy of countless musicians, filmmakers, writers, painters or sculptors, highlighting her legendary last photo session of Bette Davis, days before the death of the classic Hollywood diva.

Donation from the Isabel Azkarate Archive and book dedicated to the author

The retrospective celebrates the donation of the Isabel Azkarate Archive to Fototeka de Kutxa Fundazioa, which will guarantee the conservation, study and spread of her valuable legacy, made up of more than 175,000 objects, including negatives and slides, cameras, catalogs and original publications in the press.

Furthermore, in collaboration with Kutxa Fundazioa and the San Telmo Museum, the Blume publishing house and the Photographic Foundation are co-publishing the book Isabel Azkarate, the first great publication that expands knowledge of the photojournalist’s work with nearly two hundred images, many of them unpublished.

Book cover of “Isabel Azkarate”.