Photo project

Ghost Town: Kolmanskop in a Project by Álvaro Sánchez-Montañés

Barselona photographer traveled to the abandoned town of Kolmanskop to show that nature is beautiful even when it destroys man-made reality.

Álvaro Sánchez-Montañés, 41 years old

Spanish photographer and traveler with education background in aircraft engineering. Born in Madrid, lives in Barcelona.

In Southern Namibia, just ten kilometres from the Atlantic coast, lies the town of Kolmanskop. In the early 20th century in the merciless coastal desert of Namib, someone found a diamond, and very soon a town was built — with beautiful houses, nice schools, hospitals, theatres and even casinos. A few decades later the diamonds “ran out of stock” and life in the midst of unceasing sand storms quickly became unbearable for the former miners, so they left that place for good. Now it is a ghost town — the wind is the only landlord of the once gorgeous houses, and the desert sand is their only tenant.

I started taking pictures when I was 18. I remember it very clearly – my first camera was a Soviet “Zenit”. It was long ago. I’ve visited so many countries since then. I found out about Kolmanskop from a travel magazine. I fell in love with that place at once and immediately started preparing for a trip to Namibia — I so much wanted to see it with my own eyes.

I wanted to show that nature is always stronger than us. And even when it destroys something man-made, it does it in a very sublime and beautiful way. I tried to show some kind of magic, to let the viewer have a dreamlike experience, get in touch with something strange and mysterious. I really hope I managed to do that. I am very proud of this series!

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