Twentysix Abandoned Catalan Gasoline Stations by Xavier Aragonès
I’m a photographer based in Terrassa, Spain. My work basically revolves around the effects, sometimes subtle and sometimes traumatic, of human activity in the places surrounding us. I’m particularly drawn to the peripheral, the obsolete and the forgotten. I like to say that my work is ultimately about people, even though they hardly ever show up in my photographs. Xavier Aragonès
In 2011 I embarked on a series of short trips along national and local roads in Catalonia, the area I have lived in for all of my life. At first I hadn’t set any specific goals, I only wanted to get to know a little better the landscape around those roads. However, I soon noticed that very specific subject that I found from time to time was getting my attention: abandoned gasoline stations.
Around that time I had also recently discovered Ed Ruscha’s 1962 seminal artist book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” and I thought it would be fun making my own particular remake of the book. This is how I began a six-year long solitaire treasure hunt in which I challenged myself to find and photograph, on 6×6 medium format film, as many derelict gas stations as I could within the limits of Catalonia (which, to give you an idea, is only slightly bigger than Belgium).
By January 2017, when I had already photographed 40 different locations, I decided to put an end to the search and make a final edit of 26 images. Along with my publisher José de Almeida from Camera Infinita Books, who is also a fantastic graphic designer, we shaped the project into a book that was released the 16th of June of 2017. The book is available for full preview and purchase here.
The project was also shown in the form of an exhibition last May at Espai Fotogràfic Can Basté, in Barcelona, as a part of the Revela-T international festival of analog photography.