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Jan Banning, the dutch photographer, is known worldwide by his series of pictures of workers and his excellent portraits. One of his most famous series, “RED UTOPIA”, portraits offices of the communist party all over the world; a propaganda search of the remains of communism, 100 years past the Russian Revolution.

His career as a photographer begun in 1981, the year he visits the city of Córdoba and takes the picture of “the Crippled shoemaker”. This photograph, without him expecting it then, would become the symbol of his work in the following years, during which he took pictures of hundreds of workers in their natural working environment, that is to say, he would repeat time and again the essence of that first moment captured in Córdoba; a huge inspiration for a life committed to photography. That year, Jan Banning paused his studies to go on a photography trip to Southern Spain. He took the famous picture of that shoemaker in the old quarter of Córdoba, an historic anarchist venue during the Spanish Civil War. That moment passed but the photo marked him good. Later in life, Banning realized that for the first time he had taken a picture that was truly meaningful. The combination of the Virgin Mary next to the pin-up calendar of the one-legged shoemaker, the beautiful light... it all kept him thinking. Who was that shoemaker? What sort of influence did the Civil War had on him?

These days Frank van Osch, the movie-maker, accompanies Jan Banning in Córdoba trying to discover the story behind the photo that marked his career forever. Thanks to all the rendezvous, interviews and stories the movie manages to provide an accurate picture of the shoemaker’s life and scars, related to his experience during the Civil War.

The documentary, titled “The shoemaker and the photographer”, will premiere in May and is being financed through micro-patronage (crowdfounding). Banning comes back looking for the protagonist of his first good picture “The crippled shoemaker”. Who was he? What was the story of his life? Why the fame of this picture?

A beautiful and inspired story that tells us with a clear lens how our lives constantly change, affected by the coincidences that fate has in store.


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