Nemini Parco: Awfully Beautiful Photo Project
Spanish photographer Jesus Monterde took to photographs in an older age, did not receive a formal education in photography, and has always been led by intuition when taking pictures. Neither of this prevented him from creating a philosophical and deeply personal project called Nemini Parco about the traditions of a Spanish region Alt Maestrat with a population of just about 7,000 people.
Self-taught photographer. Participated in Blank Paper workshops. Exhibited his work in Spain and Belgium.
— Nemini Parco is an introspective project. It is the research of my nature, my roots, my origin, but it took me a long time to be aware of this. When I started my project I only wanted to document a lifestyle that is about to disappear. But as the project grew I realized that my photos were deeper. In reality, I was also photographing my thoughts, my emotions, and my fears, which are abstract but at the same time more real than myself. For this reason, I think that Nemini Parco could be classified within those two concepts of reality and abstraction, but principally it is a real story.
I took these pictures between 2011 and 2017 in Spain, namely in the region Alt Maestrat. I have lived here all my life and I know this territory perfectly. My region is isolated and it is steep and has many gorges. For this reason, its population has special personality trait, which are close-minded, obsession and austerity. Moreover, we celebrate several ancestral festivities and also preserve old traditions. I photographed the everyday lifestyle of people in Alt Maestrat and my relatives. For instance, a woman in the picture with grapes is my mother.
I’m conscious that my pictures are divisive and hard for some people, but for me Nemini Parco has been an enriching exercise of self-knowledge, which I consider fundamental for a healthy life. For this reason, my intention is to share this great experience, which helps me to mature and to be more logical and serene.
Thanks to this work I know my fears, my obsessions, my desires, and I have learnt to face life, which is sometimes cruel and hard. We cannot choose what happens to us. Life forgives no one and we should learn to see the difficult and cruel moments of life with more naturalness and calm if we want to live good moments again.
More than the death, I would say that my language is connected to our subconscious, which is very deep, dark, and unknown. I think that our fears, desires and responsibilities sculpt our life, and of course, the fear of the death, which determines our life, is one of the greatest preoccupations.
I started this work without having any photography formation and total ignorance about the independent photography or any class of art. I didn’t know any author, any painter, and I had never read books. For this reason the evolution of this project was always linked to my formation as a photographer, and besides, this process helped me to have a new vision of the world.
I worked a lot to improve as a photographer, I read a lot of books about philosophy, mythology, and other kinds of books. Besides, I also visited museums, took a great number of photos. I remember that after my first visit to the Prado, my photography language changed. Maybe the paintings influenced me.
I think that one of the best qualities of art is that it gives the opportunity to learn from oneself, whether or not you are the author or the viewer. We live in a world where we are too conditioned, and it is too much difficult to be one’s self, but it is possible sometimes. I would like that the viewer ask himself questions about him and about life. Questions like, why am I this way? Why do I think this way? Why is this beautiful and is that is divisive?