The Cabildo de Gran Canaria has invited you to see and explore some of the most iconic images taken over 125 years of tourism history, with an exhibition entitled “Fotografía, identidad y turismo” [“Photography, identity and tourism”] which after spending a month at the Casa de Colón, in Las Palmas, has moved to the Centro de Iniciativas y de Turismo de Playa del Inglés.
The exhibition will remain at the center until June 30, and consists 70 photographs from the archives of the Foundation for the Ethnography and Development of Crafts Canaria (Fedac), taking you on a tour of the history of tourism on Gran Canaria.
Among the photographs there are images of tomato plants in Telde and Atalaya in Santa Brigida, taken in 1890 by Luis Ojeda, a photographer born in Las Palmas, famous for his landscaping and studio portraits.
Examples of the noble architecture of the capital city, Las Palmas, including the hotel Santa Catalina and the Metropole with their tartans at the door, the Azuaje spa photographed in 1900, and there is even a snapshot of the Parisian menu offered by Santa Brigida hotel as well as the flamboyant parties thrown in the gardens of The British Club. Photography came to Gran Canaria in the same year of its invention in Paris in 1839, a privilege only affordable then to the island aristocracy and the British colony heralding the consumption of images from the latest fashions among the more affluent social circles.
The exhibition also provides snapshots of the first massive tourist constructions on the south of the island in the 60s , tourists on visits to tomato plantations in Telde, the Maspalomas lighthouse and fishermen.
Gran Canaria began to captivate foreign interest through the geographic expansion of photography, from Las Palmas to Santa Brigida, residences of the wealthy sectors of society and a holiday destination for some of the very first tourists. Agricultural areas like Telde, Gáldar and Arucas, became exotic photographic icons.
In the late nineteenth century, the island’s farmers and fishermen attracted local and foreign photographers aiming to reach the remotest corners of the world, helping to propel portrait photography, which had previously been exclusive to the aristocracy, to the common people.
The exhibition notes the decisive role of photography in the development of Gran Canaria as a cohesive identity in the collective imagination and the construction of the tourism brand that promotes the island abroad to this very day.