María Primo is an accomplished photographer, editor, and instructor with a focused practice in ecology and environmental change. Primo studied communications and photography in Madrid (Spain) and completed an MA in Arts (Anthropology, Environment, and Cultural Studies) at the Institute of Latin American Studies in the University of London. She previously lived in Ecuador from 1999-2001, working for UNESCO, coordinating the environmental program and simultaneously developing her first artistic project about waste materials and consumption. Since 2002, she has become a freelance photographer based in Madrid and develops her own personal work interrogating the relationship between humans and the environment. Primo has exhibited and published her work internationally, has one photo book presently released, another in development and hosts specialized photography workshops and conferences in Spain, Paris and New York.

The Strait and the Moon

A Solar Revelation…

Primo’s series interrogate how human interventions in nature are transforming the environment and drastically changing the existing landscapes. In A Solar Revelation, she visits Punta Paloma, a paradisiac hotspot in the Gibraltar Strait, just in front of Africa.  Tourists flock to see the stunning views from the top of a huge moving dune, which though symbolizes paradise to many, is actually man-made. It was created in 1940 after the Spanish civil war, as a result of an ambitious military intervention in the area, preventing the baseless fear of attacks from French and English allies.

In 1988, the wreckage was found from a group of drowned African migrants. Since then, remains of pneumatic boats dragged by the sea invade the beaches in this area.

This dune has become a paradisic mirage witness to a history of war, frontiers, migrations, and deaths. The east wind makes the dune bigger every year and millions of euros have been invested to try to stop it in vain. Even the illegal sale of its sand to Gibraltar has occurred.

“Nature seems to swallow all these traces of human activity. This is why I wanted to look closely at the Dune, to recover these stories from oblivion and to meditate on our existence and position in the complex structure of the natural environment.”

To view more of MARÍA PRIMO’s work please visit her website.