Rara Avis

We have all seen them fly, although they only do it once. It is a vertical path, from the tree that gave them life to the earth where they will disintegrate. They are the leaves and twigs on which birds stood and got shelter during their stays, peregrinations and migrations while they survived, every day announcing their territory with a song. It is true: branches and leaves fly away someday, fall on the ground and stay there. Then, one afternoon while I was wandering around with a camera, a group of fallen twigs suddenly took flight, not in front of my eyes, but in front of my mind.

With the look of a prehistoric bird, raw and incomplete, that impossible creature looked at me with its single eye while slowly moving a wooden wing, polished by the wind. It moved along the ground, and a new species of beings came to life in my imaginary world. From that moment on I started to collect small, broken, rusty twigs.

Piece by piece, I began to build their bodies, disposing in an intuitive and unpredictable way certain winged structures with beaks and legs, as I felt myself like a delirious archaeologist, coming up with a reality that never existed.

Each one of them, each Rara Avis, attempts to provide to those elements in process of extinction with a second chance to fly.

That’s all I can say or do.

Now these birds made of paper and silver by means of photographic mediums are ready for a new kind of flight.

But none of them will have a reason to live, unless they are seen flying freely in the sky of the ones who contemplate them.

Melting Point

The news talks about global warming. Once again.

But at a slower, imperceptible path, ice turns into water making the sea level a bit higher each day. Each minute.

You can’t hear the sound of ice turning into water. Can you?

Perhaps for you, Melting Point is a physicochemical measurement.

From now on don’t think of Melting Point, Arctic Sea or Antarctic ice as something beyond your comprehension or beyond your potential to change things for better.

Think of Melting Point as a geographical place.

Think of Melting Point as a presence.

Melting Point has arrived to stay.

Where will you be then?

Earthy Resilience

Can a photographer, from the solitude of his laboratory, make a call to repair a cracked world? My limitations prevent me from going with my camera to where critical events related to humanity and the environment occur, but that does not stop me: there are always new opportunities to act in pressing situations. Catastrophes, cataclysms, and even personal or domestic conflicts: I feel that each one has a task to accomplish when it comes to healing wounds.

The Earth is a living example of what we call resilience, but it needs help, while we still have time, to restore the damage caused.

The Kintsugi can teach us how to do it. The Kintsugi is both an aesthetic concept and an ancient Japanese technique created by craftsmen to restore and beautify (with gold and varnish) porcelain or ceramic pieces, tea bowls and small vessels. Once repaired, the cracks and marks are not disguised: on the contrary, they become part of the new life of the object, dignifying it.

I rely on earthly as well as spiritual resilience to start a Kintsugi path of life and to correct the fissures we have caused, but how many repairs can a piece, a person, a community, or a planet support?

The next paradigm shift should be in the humanitarian rather than the scientific field. Love and empathy are the stimuli that can awaken us. And perhaps, also art...

These images are a tribute to those people who accept their scars, believe in the second opportunities that life offers, and who put their hands to work towards a better future.

The Hand

How do you feel if you happen to find an undiscovered kind of art in a cave? And what if that art is a cameraless photographic process in which images are made by the light of a flame, in darkness, in a similar way that the first artists printed their hands and drawings into the rock walls?

Whilst technology produces sophisticated instruments for making images, there is an increasing gap between photography and the beginnings of artistic behavior. Photography and the origins of art: how to link these distant ways of self-expression without falling into the temptation of photographing something already made? I want empathy to be the vehicle, working as directly as I can with my own chemical techniques.

Perhaps we’ll never know the reasons hidden beneath primeval painting and the state of mind that pushed those artists to leave drawings and handprints in places where light didn’t come in. “We once were, and once we were here,” paintings tell us.

How many hands are still hidden? How many have been lost forever? And speaking in the present time: what do we know about the origins of art? My sincerest way of paying homage to my ancestors is by working with my hands, as they did, making my moments of creation a personal rite. In this ritual, the cave is my darkroom; the rock walls, the surface of the photographic paper; the flame, I carried it with me. While working, my hand touches a permeable, subtle silver gelatin veil that connects the sacred with the mundane: the thin door that leads to my inner gods. It is said that the hand is the tool of our soul. Maybe that’s true. And as I see the silhouette of my hand materializing under the magic light of a simple flame, I think it’s also the same hand that trembled thirty thousand years ago, by the emotion of being an image of its own action.