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Andrea Santolaya |  January 2017


Andrea Santolaya (Madrid, 1982) has developed a personal and honest photographic language to portray the life of small communities where timelessness as a social bond stands out. Whether with the Mikhailovsky Ballet of Saint Petersburg, in Russia; the Warao ethnic group of the Orinoco river Delta, in Venezuela; the world of boxing in gyms in New York, United States; or with the centennial Biarritz Olympique rugby team, in France. Her photographic work allows a dialogue with the viewer to show the intimacy of the places, the characters that inhabit it, the history and how society debates in its natural environment over time. The contemplation and personal experience shown through photography constitute the common thread that unites all these projects to tell a story in images.

In 2010 she graduated from the Master in Fine Arts "Photography, Video and Related Media" at School of Visual Arts NY with the support of the scholarship granted by Obra Social La Caixa. Here she also worked for Manolo Valdes photographing his monumental sculptures in NYC. Previously, she photographed the Making of the film “The Honour of the Wronged” by artist Carlos García-Alix.

She is the author of several books, among which we highlight the book “Around” published by La Oficina and the book “Manolo Valdés. Botanical Garden of NY” edited by La Fabric. This book won the First Prize for the best publication of art 2014 by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain. Her work has been published by national and international media, including El Pais, El Mundo, Matador Magazine, Esquire, El Nacional and Smithsonian Journeys.

Her work is part of private and public collections. From art galleries to art spaces such as Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Palau de la Música in Valencia, CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Cisneros Caracas Collection, C & FE Caracas Collection and Marlborough NY Gallery.

Her first solo exhibition “Around” about women boxers was at Marlborough Gallery in Madrid as part of the Festival Photoespaña 2011. Since then, her work has been presented at international institutions and galleries that include Centro Conde Duque in Madrid, Palau de la Música de Valencia, Mondo Galeria, Galeria Freites of Caracas, Institut Français in Madrid and the International Photography Festival of Mérignac.



Throughout my career I have established a particular language with a special interest in portraying small communities where timelessness has been a common ground. From the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the Warao ethnic group in the Orinoco river in Venezuela. From the boxing world in New York, USA to the centenary rugby team Biarritz Olympique in France. My photographic work suggests a dialogue with the viewer and shows the intimacy of the places and characters that inhabit the story, the touch of men and the struggle in their natural environment over time.

The lighthouse is a link between land and sea. Transmitting information to the sailor is essential and guides him throughout the night to reach for a safe harbor. Both the lighthouse keeper and the photographer use light and time to generate a message.

However, a lighthouse has no meaning without the figure of the lighthouse keeper, who carefully articulates the luminous language to guide his navigators. Talking about lighthouses is talking about isolation, melancholy, imagination and legend, but above all it is about safety for sea men.

What does it mean to have the power of light at the most Westernpoint of the European continent? What happens when the ocean is the only element that involves a population? What happens when the nearest land is 1375 km away? What does it mean to be isolated when a person lives on an island? Because, after all, my research revolves around the sublime and the enigma of living in an archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic.

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