“It was a sort of ferocious, quiet beauty, the sort that wouldn’t let you admire it. The sort of beauty that always hurt.” ― Maggie Stiefvater,
Daniel Santalla’s dog was the most beautiful dog we had ever seen. A picture of it in the back of a car lured us into the the magical world the photographer inhabits. Daniel’s work is whimsical, with pastel colours and dreamy settings, a celebration of the human body. We talked to the 27 year old photographer from Galicia about spending time in nature and doing what you are most passionate about.
Hello Dani, how have you been? What have you been up to lately?
Hi guys, I am very well thank you. Many things have come my way since I started in this world of photography, most of those things are good things. But I am grateful for everything. Working hard really does pay off, and that makes me very happy.
So who is Daniel Santalla?
Daniel Santalla is a 27 year old boy, and a lover of photography. I’m very sensitive, passionate and at times obsessive, something that will help me in my photographic work, because through the camera I can express what I feel.
I live in Galicia, in the North of Spain in an area full of beautiful beaches and impressive forests. My surroundings have been a source of inspiration to me since childhood, which led me to dedicate myself to photography professionally three years ago. Since childhood I have fond memories of walks along the beaches, excursions in the woods with my family and friends. I think it is safe to say that there is nothing that makes me happier than being in nature. It relaxes me and it helps me to unwind and think.
How did you start photography? Do you remember the first time you held a camera in your hands?
It all started casually, say, on one of the many walks that my partner and I had with our dogs. I realized that photography could capture what the beach means to me, that is a main in my work. My brother studied photography, a long time ago. We always had cameras lying around, but it was not until three years ago when I started to be interested in photography in a more serious way.
How would you describe your work?
Natural, simple, soothing, sometimes melancholic, relaxing. I think these are the characteristics of my photographs. At least for me.
Who are your subjects?
Nature, the simplicity of things, the sea, the wind, the people, everything that makes me feel something.
What excites you about photography?
It relaxes me, helps me to step outside of my head, to be able to display my vision of life, of what I feel, it helps mirroring what I think and feel.
Have you ever tried storytelling through other media?
Never, but it is something that I am very interested and I have seen things that I’d like to try.
What or who inspires you as an artist?
There are many things that inspire me, nature is one of them, perhaps one of the most important, but also my family, friends, music. As well as other artists that are also a source of inspiration. I don’t think I have any special work that inspires me, but many many people that do. For example Théo Gosselin and Maud Chalard, two amazing photographers who portray the freedom, the desire to live and youth in a fascinating way. Each image they take feels to me like being sucked into a world where nothing bad could happen. Martina Hoogland Ivanow is another of my favorite artists, her work is so full of emotion. I love the work of Spanish photographers Leire Galarza and Mònica Bedmar, its delicacy in portraying landscapes and moments are unique, full of beauty.
What’s the best advice you ever had as a photographer?
Never change your own vision, no matter how much other people might want to change this. This is me, this is my vision.
Is there anything you’d like to accomplish with your photography and if so, what would that be?
The truth is that I’m getting more and more to the place I thought I would never get with my photography. At the moment I’m starting to be able to make a living with my passion, and that, to me, is the greatest thing a person can achieve.
How would you like to grow as an artist?
We can never learn enough, in the world of photography is the same. You always have more to learn, especially when it comes to educating the eye to be able to portray what the self wants to show the world. I would like to grow as an artist in a way that my work is able to reach more people in the way that I want to share my vision with the world. I would like to learn to be more technical and patient, take the appropriate time for each job, every photograph, every moment. The next step I would take is to create a series of photographs that reach a larger public, to have the chance to get a photo in a major gallery exhibition so that more people can understand my way of photographing.
Any exciting new projects you would like to share with us?
I am getting to know the world of wedding photography, and I like it. To translate the love of people on their very special day is something that moves me, makes me continue to love this work.
Any famous last words?
“I am a guy of obsessions rather than passions.” – Truman Capote.
Who should we interview next?
Marzena Skubatz. She is one of my favorite photographers. I love the way she conveys things, it is impressive. Her work will surely charm you. Take a look at the way she portrays things, those glaciers, the horses. She has the power to make us imagine.