We are not islands

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Island: Portion of land surrounded by water. And also an area clearly separated from the surrounding space, in stations, airports, public roads, etc.

We often see ourselves frequently this way: as islands, separated and disconnected from the rest of humanity. Surrounded by an empty space that keeps us safe from a society that seems hostile to us.

But reality is different: the islands don’t float in the sea, they are land emerged from the earth’s crust and connected with the solid part of the planet. In the same way, all human beings are interconnected much more than we can imagine, and also with nature itself.

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We are not islands and neither are the islands themselves.

Thomas Merton, writer, theologian and mystic (1915-1968), in 1955 wrote: “No man is an island”. In this book he describes our deep and invisible connection with the people around us and with all the mankind, no matter how hard we try to get away, isolate or disassociate ourselves from others.

“We are not islands, we are part of a society, and even if we don’t suspect it, even if we don’t want it, even if we try to avoid it, our actions ―of any sign― have a direct or indirect repercussion on others and on our environment. And conversely, those same people, our social environment and the news that comes from the most distant places, affect in one way or another our thinking, what we feel and how we act.”

“Nothing, absolutely nothing makes sense, if we don’t admit that men are not islands, independent of each other. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the whole”, writes Thomas Merton.

How to transfer this idea from logos to photographic language?

A possible answer came to me on a trip to the Canary Islands. Absorbed by the contemplation of the vast ocean ―at times raging and at times quiet―, and the latent fire, present in the volcanic rocks, I felt more connected than ever with my visible and invisible environment. Contemplating that pure and true beauty, I began to experience the bond that Merton was talking about.

And this experience crystallized in the development of the project We are not islands. A title that plays with the apparent contradiction between the places where the works are created (always on islands) and the title itself, to activate our ability to question established paradigms. The same sea that apparently separates us, is the sea that gives us life and has allowed the connection between all the peoples of the Earth. The islands rocks, apparently disconnected from the rest of the world, continue to show their volcanic past and their indissoluble union with the earth’s crust.

The works of this series, created from the simplest forms, aim to symbolize the telluric link between all human beings and the planet itself. I don’t seek to create postcard images, that can divert attention from that simple beauty ―almost abstract in some cases― that has the ability to move us and connect us with the purity of nature and the vital energy of the Earth. A beauty that comforts and helps us to disconnect from the incessant mental noise that absorbs us in our daily routine. A beauty that reminds us that, as members of the whole, we are also part of its essence. We are also nature.

We are not islands and neither are the islands themselves.