Every night, before going to sleep, I hose down the inside of my brain, so that I sleep like a baby. This method wasn’t prescribed to me by any strange doctor, I invented it myself when I was young as a formula for mental hygiene.
I sincerely believe that happiness is the greatest gift we can give ourselves when faced with our mortal destiny. I choose photography, one of the most intense ways to look at and experience daily life. Taking photographs is also a great way to interact with people and for me, as someone as sociable as he is optimistic, this interaction with living creatures is something as necessary as breathing; but it must be a positive interaction. And here is where it is possible to see the aspects of life that fascinate me most, those which we reserve solely for searching for that fragile goal called happiness: physical and mental spaces of leisure understood as life-affirming realms, far removed from the drudgery of wage slave effort and sacrifice.
I think my way of looking has gone from surprise, irony or celebration to a contented acceptance of the manifestations of others, less and less judging, less and less reciprocal, and more and more mature.
The waiting game, THE BOOK!.
The Waiting Game, by Martin Parr.
What is it about Spain, prostitution and photography? One of the best known collections of Spanish post war photographs is Joan Colom’s remarkable study of prostitutes hanging out in Barcelona. This was published as a book in 1964.
Many years later we have Txema Salvan’s set of photographs showing prostitution in urban and rural roadside locations. The women stand or sit on make shift chairs by the roadside, as their main clients are car drivers. The women jump into the cars, and the deed is done.
The difference in style between these two sets of photographs is clear. Colom’s work shows black and white, grainy caught moments from the stream-of-consciousness school, whereas Salvan produces 5/4 inch colour photos of landscapes with an almost hidden, isolated figure within the frame.
Prostitutes do not welcome being photographed, and Salvans employed a most cunning deception to help him get access to his
models. Posing as a surveyor, working with an assistant holding a surveyor’s pole, and wearing the all important hi vis jacket, he slowly encroached on the prostitutes’ territory. The models were almost entirely oblivious to the fact that they were an essential part of the photographs. He could hardly believe this worked so well.
Spain is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. But the Spanish tourist board will not be knocking on Salvans’s door to license any of these photos as the urban landscape he depicts is not a pretty sight. It is however instantly recognisable to us - the no man’s land between the city and the countryside - is so well documented in these photographs. That strange and ugly mix that is so encroaching and so prolific. So as well as seeing the prostitutes in their remarkable settings we also learn about the contemporary urban landscape. Even without their central players this would be an impressive set of photographs.
It seems to me that Spain is now a fully matured photography territory, the new generation of photographers that is now emerging is a real force to be reckoned with.
This is not Salvans’s fist book. He produced the charming black and white publication ‘Nicetomeetyou’ in 2005.But this latest book for me constitutes a more mature, more rounded set of images. It is very exciting to see this new energy and direction. This wonderful set of photographs from Salvans makes a most positive contribution to a developing trend.
A sea of cement.
This is a journey through the Spanish Mediterranean coast, from Costa Brava to Tarifa, stopping at those places where the real state fever has transformed small fisherman villages into cities beach-party-metropolis.
The main assets of these our cultural hits are beach and sun. Lloret, Salou, Oropesa, Benidorm, Torremolinos, Marbella… are some of these dumps of people were entires families enjoy their leisures in a brief sand lot trapped between the sea and cpncrete.
The Void that Contains Us
The outer fringe of the city gives the exact measure of the price we pay for concentrating the satisfaction of our needs and our desires. At its boundaries the city reveals itself; like the wall of a cell, this skin protects and (unequally) admits sustenance to those who live inside it, but at the same time this wall is itself inhabited by a class of interstitial human beings who are the real subject of my project: suppliers, semi-urban farmers, prostitutes, practitioners of strange leisure pursuits, the uprooted, the wandering, cops, rubbish dumpers, car washers… beings that are unable or unwilling to escape the field of attraction, yet are not entirely within it. These are the beings we fleetingly glimpse when our comings and goings in our safe cars allow us to perceive the scars of a landscape where both the city and the country disappear; uncertain scenarios that expose the cruelty of a breakneck productive culture that invents uninhabitable spaces that are nonetheless lived in.
I love my car.
When my son was born I was afraid of not loving him. I knew I loved him in the delibery room.
The doctor was holding him, and I was afraid he´d drop him.I later knew I´d love him forever, such a long word that soon turned out short. It was short when I wiped him and cared for him and he looked so helpless to me. In those moments I knew that in a distant future, too distant for me, my little baby would be helpless again, and that I wouldn´t live to take care of him.