Arxiu Planas

Research and development for a photography collections in Casa Planas Centre, Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain 2018-2019.

Casa Planas
Josep Planas i Montanyà
4 Thematic pillars
Residency program

Casa Planas is a collective organization established by the artist Marina Planas in 2015. It is an independent non-profit project that emerged in response to the pressing demand for a center dedicated to interdisciplinary contemporary creation and the interpretation of tourism in the Balearic Islands.

Boasting over 4 million images, it houses arguably the most significant collection in Europe focused on the early stages of mass tourism, including iconic works by photographer Josep Planas i Montanyà.

Since 2017, Casa Planas has actively promoted an international program of artistic research residencies known as the Art Investigation Programme. This initiative aims to innovatively explore and bring to life the rich photographic archive held by the organization.

Josep Planas i Montanyà

The photographer who established the iconographic representation of the Balearic Islands during the 50s and 60s. In addition to one of the largest photography archives on Balearic Islands, his collection also holds all forms of media, such as written press, magazines, books, prints and film that sum up more than 4.000.000 images and more than 2,000 cameras of different brands and models that he used and collected.
A large part of this collection is not yet digitally stored.

4 Thematic pillars


landscape, aerial photography, rural life, portraits

Born in Catalunya, Josep Planas fell in love with the Majorcan landscape. A landscape that he would immortalise forever. He produced a wide scope imprint of the domestic and intimate human life, portraying family events of a large part of the population.

Josep Planas was conquering the front pages of Arte Fotográfico, Baleares, Fotogramas, Fiesta Deportiva, Serra d’Or, La Vanguardia. He carried out wedding reports of rich local families, celebrities, commercial reports (mainly from the hotel sector) and sports.

Dolce vita

celebrity images, Palma de Mallorca, urban life, events, sport


postcards, aerial photography, hotels, tourists

Josep Planas was the first European photographer to acquire a helicopter in order to shoot aerial photography, obtaining this type of aircraft before the local police. Photographer of the tourist boom and tireless producer, he was a pioneer in the industrial production of postcards. Through the postcard format, his images travelled all over the world.
Through the archive, we can track the impact produced in the coastal areas caused by the touristic boom process and its consequences in the construction of urban and tourist residential districts during those years.

Today in Casa Planas’ warehouse there are overflowing filing cabinets, negatives, slides, postcards and more than 2,000 cameras of different brands and models that he used and collected. Josep Planas passion for collecting also allowed him to gather an important legacy of old photographs and postcards, as well as a wide collection of devices and accessories related to his professional practice: oddities, first animations, Chinese shadows, daguerreotypes, zoo tropes, magic lanterns


pre-cinema, photography, film, magazines, books


Residency program

Today the Planas Archive dozes in a state of risk. Its deficient cataloguing and conservation conditions are in danger and waiting for social and institutional support so it can be accessed by all citizens.
Today the Planas Archive dozes in a state of risk. Its deficient cataloguing and conservation conditions are in danger and waiting for social and institutional support so it can be accessed by all citizens.


Collections statue

EU metadata and conservation standards.

Make a selection of case studies to build upon and to draft a collection plan, vision and mission.
Quantify the importance. Relevance argument – funding argument.
Present Collections plan to potential Board members.
Decide on the legal form.
Apply for a membership in PHOTOCONSORTIUM Association – Europeana Photography interface.

Relevant collection dossier/ development plan.
Appropriate standard for collections accessibility and connectivity,

New grants opportunities and secure long-term EU funding for archives and collections.

Lobbying/legal/etc. support from Board Members within important decision-making sectors.
Collection acknowledgement from professional networks locally and globally.

Strategic alliances

Discover private or public collections/archives with matching or adding value. Make an observation of schools’ and unis’ curriculum. Develop case-studies toolkit for short-term projects.
Balearic Islands – Spain – EU – Internationally
Museums, collections, archives and existing/potential networks. Education and research networks. Foreign cultural institutions working on Balearic Islands. Environmental, urban, architectural etc institutions and foundations. Creative networks and platforms. Online professional media platforms, agencies and outlets.
Explored and secured National and Balearic diverse funding/sponsorship streams. Collaborative projects with strategic partners. New collaborations and partnerships – more cross-marketing opportunities. Possibility of sharing common archival/online interface software, saving costs and minimising efforts. Offer collection to larger heritage, cultural and pro media content aggregators. Get initial financial support for collection development.


Discover networks’ opportunities to get quality second-hand equipment.

Get in-house knowledge on basic conservation, digitalisation and cataloguing skills. Organise space for basic digitising operations. Probably needs ventilation advancements, cleaning, reorganising, sectoring, categorising. Arranging the space/shelves for objects display and working space for research. Following selected manuals, instating order, rules for use and admission etc.

Getting necessary equipment.
Start cataloguing.

Integration within Casa Planas

Events production, in-house and in partnerships.
Artist-researcher residency.
Educational events in collaboration with schools and unis.
Discover national, European and international research networks and residency cases.
Find teachers-ambassadors interested to include collections materials in their curriculum.

Build residency/event program.
Host photography and related creative courses, seminars, talks, portfolio reviews.
Initiate prizes, awards, calls, photography uni graduates annual selections.
Outreach program for education department/funding.
Permanent display.



With texts by Holger Lüttgen and published by HEEL Verlag.

Planas i Montanyà’s book contains historical photographs of the island’s many attractions, from the beaches to the cliffs, from the picturesque villages to the breathtaking landscapes that have made Mallorca one of the most renowned tourist destinations in the world.

Josep Planas came to Mallorca after the war and turned his passion for photographic documentation of the island into a passion. His images capture not only the uniqueness and beauty of landscapes and buildings, but also capture the spirit of a time that is now a thing of the past. Planas became a postcard photographer, which helped enormously to spread the island’s excellence.

The author Holger Lüttgen has undertaken the task of selecting the photographs, which were sleeping their sleep in an archive in Palma, and has written the explanatory texts that adorn a book that is unique for the beauty and sentimentality it brings together.

Josep Planas Montanya. El fotógrafo del Turismo.


Josep Planas’ life was very much tied in with the utopia of tourism. It was also, however, about a sometime athlete, an entrepreneur who tripped upon success, and a man who discovered poetry through images. Josep Planas i Montanyà was, among many other things, a photographer, a compulsive collector and the founder of Casa Planas, in whose archives a great part of the history of tourism in Spain lies.

It would perhaps be very bold to say that Josep Planas invented the postcard but he was, nonetheless, the first to understand the commercial potential of the concept. Planas opened his first store in 1947 and closed the last one in 2002. Following almost six decades of uninterrupted activity, his archives now slumber next to the remains of the old Cinema Lumière. The Sant Ferran warehouse is a reflection of his whole life: a passion for the sea; discovering the idea of a souvenir; a scene at dusk with a forty-year history; a helicopter; working as a correspondent for Televisión Española; and the vestiges of twenty-two stores focused on nurturing a collective fantasy: tourism as a means of escape.

Postcards & Memories could be a documentary portrait of Josep Planas, and is indeed that, but it is also a documentary about memory, tourism, nostalgia, poverty and hedonism, leisure activity and fun, love and the landscape. It is a work about the unquestionable power of images and commercializing memories. And it is also a homage to an island that once was.

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