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Give it all up again. Hit the Road. –Roberto Bolaño
I heard about a place in Chile where there lived the “Inhabitants of the Stars”. This story was told by a friend that might have be there if she was not swimming with whales on the way to the Antarctica.
This place she was talking about was a wilderness, the highest desert on the planet, or as many say, a land nearly touching outer space. I also remember that she told me stories about an ancient community fighting for something more important than the progress or the “future” that everybody is talking about.
Chile, from north to south, is full of stories. From shipwrecks, mythological beings and legends lost in the immensity of the past, to aliens and conquests that appear in dreams. Trying to find the crossroads of the paths between legend and reality was what was intended.
Sometimes photography gives you that second chance to hear the present while imagining a past.
It all began under the Chile’s night, on the most austral corner of our planet.
We found plenty of stories about species from distant galaxies visiting, flying saucers, giants walking through the deserts, about extraterrestrial artists painting murals on the canyons in the middle of the dry sands of Atacama desert… Gabriela Mistral was also an alien, and a writer. Now, the valley where she was born has become a special place where the human sells services like looking at the night sky searching for visitors. Although this time these observations are not organized by space agencies like they were in the past.
“The People of the Stars”, the small local communities that populated these lands of volcanoes for thousands of years discovered other ways of subsistence.
Luckily, a thousand kilometers to the south, as my friend told me, there are still lands where you can find people that really melt with the ground of their ancestors. Nobody has been able to conquer Araucanía. The Mapuche community still claim their dreams, with their horses and spears, but this time they don’t fight against spaniards nor Inca’s. Nowadays the enemies are the new gigantic dams that have been sculpted in their valleys.
We walked 4.000 kilometers searchig for some truth and this is what we found.
Tomeu Coll was born in 1981. He won several photojournalism and documentary photography awards, between them, two consecutive years the Award of Photojournalism of Illes Balears. He has been selected as Emergent Photographer by the Smithsonian Magazine for his ongoing project “Badlands” and has participated in several exhibitions in Spain and New York, both collective and individuals, highlightning the collective “What Matters Now” in Aperture Gallery (NY) curated by Melissa Harris, Fred Ritchin and Yolanda Cuomo, an individual exhibition in The National Gallery in New York and the Winter Festival of Sarajevo, curated by Ellen James. He has also been involved in the creative visual edition of many videos for the project “I Am Unbeatable” by Donna Ferrato.
Nowadays he is working as a freelance and accepts assignments throughout the world. He is based between Spain and New York.