Journal Article

Against the Grain: Photojournalism in Transition-era Spain


Maria Nilsson


During the fascist dictatorship (1939–75) in Spain, photojournalism was circumscribed by censorship, as were all other aspects of media and culture. In the early 1970s, however, in tandem with a growing opposition movement, pro-democracy journalists and periodicals sought to push the boundaries of censorship by giving voice and visibility to critics of the government. In this context, photography became a tool for denouncing and critiquing the regime. This article traces this shift by examining photographs of a pro-democracy demonstration held in Barcelona in February of 1976, three months after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. Drawing on personal interviews with photojournalists and analysis of photographs and publication context, the author analyzes photographic practices and the relationship between politics and aesthetics in photographs, and concludes that the examined photographs and practices during a period of censorship in Spain were effective tools for advocacy.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Journalism, Vol 5, Issue 4.
  • Pages:
  • Published:
  • Language:
  • DOI:

About the Author

Maria Nilsson

Associate Professor and Director of Studies for Journalism with an international research and teaching background and previous journalism experience. B. Sc in Social Work from Stockholm University, Ph. D. (Media and Communication Studies), M. F. ... Read more


Nilsson, M. (2004). Against the Grain: Photojournalism in Transition-era Spain. Journalism, 5(4), pp. 440-457. Available at: [Accessed 28 Sep. 2022]. doi: DOI: 10.1177/1464884904044204.