Director of Photography Carolina Zorrilla de San Martín explores the nuanced duality of human nature, contrasting concepts of light versus dark and death versus life, revealing beauty and exposing truth in raw, emotional themes.
In Art in the Shadow of Death, a pictorial-cum-documentary and book project, the artist presents an uncompromising and unflinching look at one of Spain’s most beloved and controversial traditions, chronicling the dramatic and itinerant life of the Spanish matador. It is a grand and romanticized world into which few women have ever so deeply infiltrated, an arena into which Zorrilla de San Martín has literally charged her way to chart one of Spain’s most celebrated and controversial cultural traditions.
Here, in these stark, candid images, the photographer takes us on an awe-inspiring journey, plunging us into a universe both shocking and breathtaking in its content and construct, exposing bullfighting’s beautiful and unbiased core. Lensed in a manual, medium-format Hasselblad, the artist’s deftly captured images of the adrenaline-laden, gold-spangled spectacle of Spanish matadors in the bullring present a juxtaposition of assured death and balletic valor. Selecting sepia as a hue to maintain cohesiveness in her photographs, the tones remain bountiful: rich reds, glimmering golds, bold blacks. These colors melt through each image, pulsating with the electric warmth of dying bull’s blood.
In capturing such vivid images of matador and bull, Zorrilla de San Martín has eloquently managed to mesh magic with masculinity, elevating what outsiders might view as a brutal ringside sport into one of the highest forms of pure art.
expecting the world
From the beating heart of masculinity to the sublime essence of femininity, Carolina Zorrilla de San Martín segues seamlessly from blood and sweat of the bullring to the sensual elegance of the pregnant form, finding magnificence in both themes. For the past 22 years, the photographer/DP has traversed the globe capturing the evocative images of pregnant women ranging from the adolescent to the adult for her joint documentary-and-book project Expecting the World. Favoring saturated sepia tones and moody shadows of soft black and white, the photographer’s subjects consist of regular, everyday women across the entire cross-cultural spectrum. Expecting celebrates in its majestic pictorial imagery the bonding experiences and birthing rituals of the world’s women, the cultural role of men during these rites of passage, and the ineffable connection—an almost impossible love—between mother and child.
Throughout all of her pictorials, Zorrilla de San Martín’s collective body of work signals an evolutionary sociological change across the international face of pregnancy. Her groundbreaking compositions illustrate how, in the western hemisphere, pregnancy has become de rigueur. Like her unprecedented still shots, the filmic version of Expecting is the first of its kind. A ravishing cinematic scrapbook of superstitions, traditions and ceremonious life cycle events, the documentary will re-inspire, astonish, and gracefully give back strength to the women of the world—sisters, mothers, friends—who strive to preserve their longstanding methods of childbirth, lest they become obsolete and the foundation of their heritage destroyed.
In Expecting the World and in Art in the Shadow of Death, Zorrilla de San Martín eloquently captures these two distinct, disparate worlds—one masculine, one feminine, one fiercely nationalistic, the other globally universal—infusing both with her artistic passion.