Isabel Steva “Colita” is born in Barcelona, in the heart of the neighborhood of Eixample, on August 24th in 1940, at siesta time. She studies until the age of 17 at the school Sagrado Corazón, and after finishing the pre-college in Lettersm moves to Paris for a year to study French Civilization at the Sorbonne.
On her return to Barcelona, Colita meets and learns from Oriol Maspons, Francesc Català Roca, Xavier Miserachs, and Paco Rebés. She specializes in film photography first and in portraiture later, and is considered one of the photographers of the so-called Gauche Divine. In 40 years of profession, Colita has had more than 40 exhibitions and published more than 30 photography books. Her photographs are part of the Museo Reina Sofía collection (Madrid), the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) (Barcelona), and part of her extensive work is deposited in the National Archive of Catalonia, the Municipal Archive of Barcelona, the Brossa Foundation, and the Filmoteca de Catalunya. In 1998, the Barcelona City Council awards her with the Gold Medal for Artistic Merit, together with the photographers Oriol Maspons and Leopoldo Pomès, and in 2004 she obtains the Creu de Sant Jordi, awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
She has also been named Doctor Honoris Causa by the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2012.
In 2014, Colita is awarded the National Photography Prize, a prize she rejects due to the situation of culture and education in Spain at that moment.
In 2015, she receives the Bartolomé Ros Prize for the best Spanish career in photography. The jury, made up of Rosa Ros, responsible for the legacy of Bartolomé Ros; Gervasio Sánchez, photographer; Rafael Doctor Roncero, curator; João Fernandes, deputy director of the Reina Sofía Museum; and Alberto Anaut, president of PHotoEspaña, want to recognize with this award “the coherence of her career, her professional independence and the whole of her work, witness of an era, lived from within.”
In November 2018, coinciding with the 40th Anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, the great exhibition The Power of Art is organized in the Senate and Congress (Madrid), where Colita exhibits 40 photographs belonging to the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS).
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“Sandra Sabatés interviews Colita in El Intermedio, one of the photographers who has best documented the changes in Spain. Feminist to the core, she portrayed the Franco regime and the transition with a critical and provocative gaze.” – La Sexta