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Salvi Danes: “Neither I nor the landscape will ever be the same again”

All images from the series Transmontanus © Salvi Danes

A project that serves as a personal diary takes a fresh look at a photographer’s home, appraising what it means to reconnect with the past

Shot on the streets of Moscow over one month, Salvi Danes’ Black Ice was “tied to an eagerness to discover a new world through the lens”.

Black Ice was picked up by BJP, Foam, Camera Austria and many more last year; his new project, Transmontanus, does something very different, depicting his friends, family and partner in Emporda, northeast Catalonia, where he spent much of his childhood.

Personal and emotive, the images are a deliberately oblique take on a region “rich in natural areas”. “Transmontanus is like a topographic fable where biography and topography mix,” he says. “We live in a world of colour, in a world of reality and of the present. The dreamlike tone – sometimes one of regression, of memories – is strengthened by the use of black and white, and of light.”

“Both a journal and a journey back to a landscape we knew as children”, the project’s title references both its direct translation – “further from the mountains” – and the tramuntana wind that often occurs in Emporda. “An agent of change and erosion” this wind can change things and thus, says the 29-year-old, serves as a metaphor for the way that life has changed him and his relationship with his home town.

“The intention is to build a temporary and symbolic pattern which shows a present, but at the same time references previous experiences and longings that are to come,” he says. “My reencounter with a known but absolutely different reality generated a feeling of wanting to reencounter myself within this personal territory [and] to generate a document of the feelings that were coming to me again.”

Danés has published the project as a book with Ediciones Anomalas, carefully editing the images to allow readers to move fluently from one shot to the next and “establish a subjective relationship with the images you’ve seen and the ones you’re about to see”.

But while it’s a project that speaks to others, it remains a very personal work, as Danes is keenly aware. The images, he says, form “a bridge between different stages of my life….neither I nor the landscape will ever be the same again”.