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Luis Castelo: Photography as Sanctuary

Growing up in the clean, crisp landscapes of Castilla, Castelo became fascinated with the natural world. In these parts, the air is cold and cuts like a knife and days are long and luminous.

He must have spent a great deal of his time inspecting the grassy fields that abound in this area of the country. Plants, reptiles, birds, shells and stones all became his muses, and now they take center stage in his photographic work.

The clarity of vision evident in his photographs must have come from that light and those windswept fields. Castelo's images are clean to the point of appearing translucent. There's a depth, an insight that has no affectation.

Luis Castelo is a master of capturing the spirit of his

subjects. He photographs them at their most beautiful in a timeless space that resembles a crystal dome. A place impervious to change and decay. A place were astonishing beauty rules. Are these furtive glimpses of things that have been or perhaps hints of things that will be?

Whether past or future, the fascination stems from their quiet presence. The silence in Luis Castelo's images is as deafening as it is magical. His photographs of plants, both terrestrial and marine, permeate with sadness and isolation.

The specimens are crystallized, plucked from their environment in order to distill the very essence of their external beauty. This beauty masks the reality of the already dead plant or animal, stripped of their natural suppleness. Opposites merge seamlessly: beauty and decay.

Collectors seek Castelo's work for its lasting elegance. Very few artworks impart a sense of tranquility the way Castelo's photographs do. In a world filled with uncertainty his work affords the viewer a moment of restful indulgence and that is, in itself, a precious luxury.

Luis Castelo was born in the northern town of Barruelo de Santillan in Palencia, Spain in 1961. He currently lives and works in Madrid, Spain.


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