All the deserts are my desert. The desert opens itself in front of me in its complex austerity. It is a potent witness of the time that has written its history on rocks and boulders, now converted to dust. The silent space dances in front of me in its immense luminosity. It holds me within its invisible arms and submerges me in its depths followed by my two eyes and my camera. The desert exerts on me an inexplicable influx, forcing me to return to it over and over, with the tenacity of one that peels off the onion, layer by layer, amidst a teary and happy astonishment. I see its itinerant dunes, its pilgrim hills, its valleys with its fragile crests rocking in its whims, and I ask myself why, if I know it so well, if I understand its entrails, if I read it as the sailor reads the celestial vault; why does it still bewitch me?
Under the influx of its mystery I have conceived photographic projects; and upon their conclusion I always remain with the intimate conviction of having hardly touched the border of the miracle…. which pushes me to initiate a new one, with greater intensity and at the same time, with the intimate hope that this time its full mystery, its magic enigma, will reveal itself to me.
In this new series of my photographic work, I propose to analyze the various manifestations of life and death in the desert; what is the cosmogony that sustains its mysteries, which are the similarities and differences that generate their diverse cultures,
from the Goby in China, the Sahara in Africa, or the Western deserts in Australia, all the way to the Mojave in the United States or the Atacama in Chile.
I intent to represent these stories of life and death through the interventions practiced on the vast scenery of the desert, in order to dialogue with my own concept of life and death. Not any longer is death conceived as the tragic ending of the existence, or the extreme and painful fear that our Western Culture has taught us to escape from, but as the epilogue antipode equivalent and necessary of birth. I believe there is no better place to ponder about death other than the desert, that inexhaustible vital horizon, dynamic, and vigorous; a horizon in perpetual renewal.
I want to get close to the sacrament of living in and dying for the desert. I want to determine my answers to these questions, only to be ready for the next questions that will come, I know, the first and only concern that I have always asked myself is: Where is this storm of light going to?
Alfredo De Stéfano