- Besides your work as a cinematographer and film editor, you are currently Director of Communications at ‘Joya: arte + ecología’: could you introduce our readers to this project?
Since 2010 I’ve been part of Joya: arte + ecología: an arts organisation located in the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park, in Vélez Blanco (Almería, Andalucía) in Spain. Joya was founded by British artists and ecologists Simon and Donna Beckmann. The organisation is based in Cortijada Los Gázquez, where the organisation develops most of its activities. Our principal aim is to facilitate, through production and collaboration, contemporary art and artists whose work manifests a discourse with the environment and sustainability.
One of our main activities is our residency programme, which brings contemporary artists from all over the world to work in this unique, isolated and yet to be explored spot of southern Spain. We also receive groups of Fine Art students from the UK and Spain who come with their tutors to develop their own work in this environment.
We develop a wide range of projects with an environmental agenda, including our trans-disciplinary project Sistemas Efímeros, which seeks to restore an ancient water catchment system and involves both artists and scientists. We celebrate the culture and history of rural Spain and we create and encourage cultural activity within the Los Vélez area, engaging the local rural community through international events like our yearly Encuentro Internacional de Arte y Ecología (International Congress of Art and Ecology). We collaborate with institutions like the University of Granada and the Mediterranean Network of Forestry Research and Innovation (MENFRI) to name a few.
Joya: arte + ecología is a unique organisation developing cultural projects which do make a difference and engage people. All this is thanks to a talented and hardworking team lead by Simon and Donna that includes artist David Cass, Alicia García-Andrés (research collaborator at the Museo Nacional del Prado), expert on local history Andrés Fajardo and artist and explorer Andrew Welch. Being part of this inspiring group of contemporary thinkers has enriched my own work enormously and allowed me to collaborate with great artists and scientists from throughout the world.
- Can you describe your experience in India from a filmmaker's point of view?
I travelled last December around Southern India photographing and filming in different locations. India is a complex, rich, fascinating country. A universe unto itself. People are very important both in my photographic and filmed practice, and most of the Indians I met were delighted to contribute to my work. I’m interested in peoples’ daily lives and rituals, and India’s authenticity provides this generously. Therefore, it’s a place where I found constant inspiration. I have filmed and photographed people working, people on the streets, people passing by, trying to capture at least part of the essence of this vast country. The landscape and the colours are unique and I was surprised to find a very distinctive light, one that I chased throughout the country, determined to capture in my images – a light that I had never before encountered – which was likely a product of humidity, but offered a surreal, pale effervescent radiance, and introduced new tones to my photographic palette.