Santi Donaire wins the III Joana Biarnés scholarship for young photojournalists

Santi Donaire, a photojournalist from Jaén, is the winner of the III Joana Biarnés Scholarship for his proposal “Hasta que la tierra aguante. Retrato de la agricultura y ganadería industrial en España y sus consecuencias ambientales, humanas e identitarias”.

Thanks to the Joana Biarnés Scholarship, the author will have 8,000 euros to carry out photographic research over nine months and with the support of a tutor. To do this, he will travel to Tenerife, Almería and Jaén, passing through the degraded Mar Menor in Murcia or the bovine and pig macro farms of Aragón and Navarra, studying the social and environmental impact of intensive industrial food production.

Photography of the “Crudo” project, by Santi Donaire.

According to the award-winning photographer, “Over the last 40 years, Spain has become Europe’s pantry in matters as essential as livestock, the pig industry, olive oil, the fruit and vegetable sector, avocados and bananas. Our climate and our privileged geographical position, together with our degraded and uninhabited territory, have made our country become the great food producer of the Old Continent. We have to see what this really means and under what conditions the food we eat and export is produced.”

“Hasta que la tierra aguante” seeks to reveal the consequences of these intensive practices, especially for those who work the land in those localities where these activities take place. They are local communities that have undergone a great transformation in just a few years, becoming the front line of an industry that needs them as a workforce, but that also significantly affects the landscape, the environment and the way of life of its population.

Photography of the “Crudo” project, by Santi Donaire.

In the justification for his project, Donaire recounts: “The land that our grandmothers and fathers lived in, that mostly rural and subsistence society, has given way to a massive urban concentration, relegating the countryside to industrial and massive production practices. As if it were our own stressed lives, food production has been subjected to overexploitation, regardless of the consequences for our environment, for the people who work it and for us to feel alienated, and not heirs, to a landscape that does not resemble to what they told us. Not only have our lives been stripped of any contact with the countryside and nature, but the industry has made the work of the land stripped of biological rhythm, humanization and sustainability.”

Photography of the “Crudo” project, by Santi Donaire.

The deliberation of the Jury

Santi Donaire’s project was chosen by an independent jury, which had previously highlighted six finalists from among the more than 40 projects submitted to this third call for the Joana Biarnés Scholarship.

In its ruling, the jury defines “Hasta que la tierra aguante” as “a project as ambitious as it is pertinent, which covers issues as urgent as climate change, an empty Spain, the absolute precariousness of many of the farmworkers who barely survive with poverty wages in unbearable conditions, lack of water, depletion of land or environmental pollution. With exhaustive documentation and a coherent approach, Santi Donaire offers us a journey through these runaway macro-exploitations, which force us to consider, as individuals and as a society if we can afford this food model, both because of the way these foods are produced and because of the responsibility that we all, as consumers, have”.

As motivation for its final decision, the jury also believes that “Donaire is a photographer of outstanding maturity, as evidenced by some of his previous projects such as ‘Hijos de la Desmemoria’, about the exhumations of those shot during the Franco regime and buried in the cemetery of Paterna (Valencia), or ‘Crudo’, a portrait of the social and economic decline in Venezuela, a consequence of the bankruptcy of oil rentism”.

The Joana Biarnés Scholarship for Young Photojournalists was created in 2019 by Photographic Social Vision, as a tribute to the first female photojournalist in Spain and fulfilling her wish that her legacy serve to support the professional development of young photojournalists from all over the country, while that the Scholarship highlights issues and challenges of necessary dissemination and social reflection.

About Santi Donaire

Santi Donaire (Jaén, 1988) is a documentary photographer, journalist and co-founder of the documentary production company Nervio. He has worked for media such as TIME, El País, The New York Times, Le Magazine du Monde, Los Angeles Times or The Telegraph, and has been awarded the Picture Of The Year International (2017) and the Luis Valtueña International Prize for Humanitarian Photography. (2019), among others. In 2021, together with the Nervio collective, he presented a documentary on the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean at the San Sebastian Film and Human Rights Festival. In recent years, he has focused on projects related to Spanish historical memory.