Salva López

“Leaving oneself behind is liberating”

Some mundane photographs in his grandparents’ home, taken out of mere necessity or the pleasure of telling a story, caught the attention of some of the most prestigious magazines in Europe. And that marked the beginning of the career of Salva López (Barcelona, 1984) who, during the recent pandemic, learned to become “detached” from himself in order to be free, and flow.

“When you flow through the space, seeking lights and nooks and crannies, you stop thinking, you enter a flow state in which you take photographs without knowing, and you fuse with everything, without thinking of anything or anybody. You look with the camera and only shoot because you are following your intuition, your gaze and your eye, and things turn out better that way”, says Salva López.

“As a child, he says, “I was the typical academic failure who, instead of listening and taking notes, would spend my time drawing and doodling. I started to study graphic design because I wanted to be an illustrator – I loved comics and posters and I followed my intuition for the visual world”.

In 2007, Salva bought his first digital reflex camera and discovered a type of photography that captivated him. “I started taking photos of my grandparents in their – rather shabby – house in the middle of Raval, a multicultural district of Barcelona, where my grandparents, their home and the light were a good place to run trials for narrating, telling stories and generating sensations”. These images caught the attention of prestigious magazines such as Enroute or Monocle and in this way, what had started out as a hobby became a profession.

In late 2014 Salva and his partner broke up. As a way of trying to overcome the pain he decided to escape to Lanzarote in the middle of December. “That harsh, volcanic landscape of destruction made me cry every night; it symbolised a burning wound inside of me. I took photographs without any kind of goal and when I returned to Barcelona and saw those photographs and those of all the places I travelled to, Eloi Gimeno published a book, Illa, a kind of memoir of love and heartbreak”.

During that vital time “the clever people I had around me advised me to live and enjoy the moment, however painful it might be. There are difficult, dangerous moments, but life is dangerous. You have to touch danger once in a while to know that it’s real. There are no safe spaces in life and when you realise that, you can withstand blows better”.

During the pandemic in 2020 something inside Salva changed. “I had a certain amount of money, a certain recognition, I could more or less do whatever I wanted to, but I felt bad, I was searching for something that made no sense”. A short while later his daughter Celia was born, and “then I lost my fear of becoming detached from myself because it’s no longer just me, leaving oneself behind is incredibly liberating; that was my great discovery over recent years”.

For Salva López, photography is “another language, because we no longer only communicate with writing, but with images too. There are photographs that go beyond words, through symbols and feelings”. He now works for multinationals like Mango or Zara, but also for unique, beautiful places like Potter’s House, in Mallorca. “There is one clear objective: thinking of how each individual person will see. There are moments when you need to have calculated absolutely everything, and there are others when you need to flow”, he affirms.

“The most beautiful thing about photography is [...]


Read this article in full in IN PALMA 73. And if you like, subscribe to IN PALMA for 1 year and get the next 4 issues of the magazine delivered to your home.

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