Jon Tugores by Vicente Guallart



Jon Tugores’ Barcelona lifts our gaze to a new vantage point over our city, revealing a new territorial scale that has never been shown before.

Jon Tugores – architect, photographer and pilot – has managed to reinvent urban aerial photography through his determination to capture multiple moments over a period of several years from the same position in the cockpit of an airplane or a helicopter. The images bring the geographic scale and the urban scale face to face, emerging from an atmospheric mist, as the sunlight filters through. Jon Tugores has the ability to connect the passion and beauty of a territorial aerial image with the direct compression of a humanized landscape. When Jon takes pictures, he is also drawing.

His images of Barcelona are images of a capital city. At this scale, when it is represented in plan, we see the large-scale transport infrastructures and the large natural parks – it is the scale of a territorial map, where it is very hard to discern urbanity and humanity. But Jon Tugores’ photographs, which often represent this scale, can create a precise ethereal image, where the city seems to have grown up as a natural process in the territory, with landmarks, profiles, silhouettes, and structures that match nature. And through these images we see humanity, order, abstraction, and life.

With the beauty of his images, with his intent in capturing sunrises and the feeling of heat, Tugores shows us that the single global image provided by Google Earth may represent a technical feat, but it can’t communicate a place’s soul.

For the first time we can see all of Catalonia in one image, with the Eixample and the Pyrenees. Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, as photographed by Tugores, is the image of the new Catalonia to come, where the entire territory responds to a single project, understood as a local entity, connected internally and to the world through flows of material and information. A territory built as an urban habitat, where everything is inhabited, including the sky, where urban and rural environments are part of a consistent, rational, planned whole.

His photographs remind us of part of our history, and we realize that the visions of 17th century marine artists who represented, as part of the same profile, the church towers in central Barcelona, the Collserola mountain range, and the outline of Montserrat is a possible image – a real, neighboring landscape. These images connect the capital and the soul of Catalonia, built as a series of layers separated by water vapor, flattened by the view through a telephoto lens.

Tugores has also photographed the port and the Zona Franca as they have never been seen before. As a quintessential productive territory, which serves as a logistical Delta, located between the airport and the city, it defines a hub that connect us to the world.

Jon Tugores has invented a new art of aerial photography. He has shown us real landscapes, colors and transparencies, which we had only seen before in Eastern paintings. And with them he has taught us to look at the world anew from a different point of view, from above and looking straight ahead, with a perspective which, when transferred onto paper or into pixels, leads to a shift in our collective imagination.