People & Nature was conceived by Santiago in 2008 while during multiple visits to Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta, Georgia. In this book are scenes from atop of the mountain, 1686 feet above Atlanta. All images were captured digitally. Santiago continues to explore the world for landscape that speaks. Recent photographic travels include New Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Antarctica.
When I think of "people and nature", ideally I envision someone out in the wild loaded with a tent and compass, exploring and becoming one with nature. It's a nice picture. And it happens in reality. It is a good thing. However, I can't help noticing how odd "normal" people are in nature. They go in high heels and are glued to their cell phones. Walking around guzzling energy drinks out of brightly colored plastic containers and getting their family picture taken with blank smiles that quickly disappear after the digital camera's beep (click). People become the landscape.
I'm one of them, one way or another. Aren't we all?
It's hard to explain how I see people in nature. My lack of an explanation is why I'm drawn to making images of it. More than actual statements about people in nature, I have questions. Sometimes when I observe it feels bizarre, odd. Other times it feels like something isn't right, something is off. And then there are moments when it really just feels right. I guess when it comes to people and nature, harmony and dysfunction go hand in hand
Santiago brings an interesting set of aesthetics to his work. He has navigated in and out of two cultures throughout his life. Born in Philadelphia and then moving back and forth between the United States and his native country of Colombia, eventually staying in Colombia for the next 14 years. Inspired by his mother, a painter, Surrealist art, Latin American magic realism, music, and the world of cinema, Santiago creates work that looks at the dark and the light in life. "I see the world in a way that even to me is a bit strange, but very real. The world is a strange, complicated, and fascinating place. I’m constantly drawing metaphors of how I see the world and its future. My images are about the relationship between reality and perception." His work has been featured in Surface Magazine, WIRED, Flaunt Magazine, Picture Magazine, GRAPHIC Magazine UK, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Lenscratch.
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