Story - NOMINEE: Antonio Aragon Renuncio
Photo © Antonio Aragon Renuncio
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And there it was, amid the absence as a savanna. Hidden among rough rocks, among weeds and trees scattered starving the hot plains. Under a blazing sun hammering the senses. No rest, no mercy. A million light years from known safety and comfort. In Africa, always in Africa. Always in the distance, always in the middle of nowhere.
The hole, "le trou ".
Wandering of battered bodies out of necessity. Burly, sweaty, hungry. Men, women, children. Many children. Too many. Back in the harsh and inhospitable place of grief.
There are places in this sometimes beautiful planet that we live fighting for survival and it becomes simply too hard and pointless. The hole. Wandering frantic bodies in and out of the depths. No rest. Day and night. Eternal. Endless. Heat, stones and more stones. Hours and hours. Tons of red dirt coming out relentlessly from the bowels of the earth. The sound of improvised mortar fills the air, surely. Blimmmm blimmm blimmm... Stones and more stones. Hits and more hits. Blimmm blimmm blimmm... Sun. Heat. Holes and more holes. Earth and earth. Red like blood. Blimmm blimmm blimmm...
Sanna'm. "Gold" in Mòoré language of the Mossi tribe.
Sanna'm. It is very difficult to describe what it means for the inhabitants of the hole, the meaning of that unknown word for me. Life, food, comfort, hunger, sweat, tears... death. All for a handful of gold dust with which to feed the family. Taken with much sweat inside frayed pockets of gladiators in the caverns. Climbing barefoot through the narrow passages of the underworld about to succumb. From hundreds of feet deep. Playing and gambling with death about to collapse. Hours and hours of work into the abyss devoid of fresh air, light, security. Without eating. Almost without drinking. Only hitting the wall of the hole. With eyes dilated about to explode for the elusive glow of a piece of stone. Hour after hour. Day after day. Endless.
Blimmm blimmm blimmm...
Constant hammering. In search of precious golden granites. Ascension of the underworld. Again and again. Constant hammering. Sweat. Hunger. Perennial cough. Disease. Absence, pain... death.
Somewhere beyond the harsh and inhospitable plains full of rocks...
… A great light at the end of the tunnel.
Since the mid-90s he has always been involved with the photographic medium: Founds and chairs “Nostromo” Photographers Association (Spain). Professor (over fifteen years) of photography in several universities: UC (Spain), UAM (Nicaragua), UCA (Nicaragua), URACCAN (Nicaragua), Cantabrian Government and Santander City Hall (Spain)… He organizes and directs the I Photography Festival of Santander. Writes about Photo and publishes reportages across digital and print international media. He was Publisher in “Xplorer” Magazine (Nicaragua). He has been Free-lance photographer for several International News Agencies. General Manager Xtreme Photo WS (Burkina Faso). Organizes and Directs the Solidarity Photography Days “Fotografía un Mundo Mejor” (Spain)……
In 2003 he founds, and since then he presides, the NGO OASIS (www.ongoasis.org) which develops every year medical projects in some of the most depressed areas of the Gulf of Guinea in Africa, having extensive experience working in Africa.
He has exhibited (+80) his work in Galleries and Museums: Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art (Madrid, Spain), Museum of Fine Arts (Santander, Spain), BBK Foundation (Bilbao, Spain), Canal de Isabel II Space Gallery (Madrid, Spain), Espai de la Fotografía (Valencia, Spain), Obra Social y Cultural de Caja Duero (Cáceres, Spain), Central Library (England), ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair (Spain), Ruben Dario´s National Theatre (Nicaragua), MAPFRE Foundation, ONCE Foundation, Museum of Antioquia (Colombia), Fontainebleau Palace (China), University of Hidalgo (México), Osnabrück’s Cultural History Museum (Germany), Puertas de Castilla (Murcia), Burj Khalifa Park (Dubai), Sakharov Center (Moscow), Rivne Regional Museum (Ukraine), Salt Galata & Galata Fotoğrafhanesi (Istanbul, Turkey), Odessa Photo Days (Ukraine), Batumi Photo Days (Georgia), State Art Gallery (Madhapur, India), Palazzo Pubblico (Siena, Italia), Ostroh Academy (Ukraine), Hysan Place (Hong Kong)...
Prizes and Grants (selection):
16th InterAction's Photo Contest. Best Photo of Youth Potential, 2018
IV Salón Internacional Vila D´Almenara. FIAP Gold Medal B/N, 2018
IV Salón Internacional Vila D´Almenara. Chairman Choice Color, 2018
IV Salón Internacional Vila D´Almenara. GFAL Honorable Mention Travel, 2018
Beautiful Moments World Photography and Essay Contest. World Top 10, 2018
Indian Photography Festival. Open Call, 2018
Life Press Foto. Best Author, 2018
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Spot News (single), 2018
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Spot News (series), 2018
Life Press Foto. Bronze Medal People in the News, Portrait (single), 2018
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal People in the News, Portrait (series), 2018
Life Press Foto. Diploma from Salon Sports (series), 2018
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Daily Life (single), 2018
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Daily Life (series), 2018
Siena International Photo Awards. Honorable Mention, 2018
Santander Photo. Finalist, 2018
PHA International Photo Contest. PHA Merit Award, 2018
Serbia Photo. International Salon Singidunum. Special Chairman Choice Award, 2018
Serbia Photo. International Salon Singidunum. Bronze Medal “Travel”, 2018
International Photo Contest "Objetivo África". 1st Place, 2017
International Photo Contest "Objetivo África". 2nd Place, 2017
International Photo Contest “La Mina y la Mar”. 1st Place, 2017
Premio Latinoamericano de Fotografía Documental. 1st Place, 2017
Direct Look. 1st place "The Compromise", 2017
Premio Nacional de Fotoperiodismo Siero. Winner, 2017
Photographer´s Forum Magazine. Finalist, 2017
Alfred Fried Photography Award. Finalist, 2017
Ariano International Film Festival. Finalist, 2017
Youmanity Photo Awards. 3rd Place, 2017
III International Digital Biennial Photojournalism. FIAP Blue Pin, Best Author, 2017
III International Digital Biennial Photojournalism. FIAP Gold Medal (Single), 2017
III International Digital Biennial Photojournalism. FIAP Gold Medal (Series), 2017
III International Digital Biennial Photojournalism. FIAP Gold Medal (Audiovisual), 2017
Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA). HM, 2017
PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris. Bronze Medal Nature, 2017
PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris. Bronze Medal Travel, 2017
Pictures of the Year, POYLatam. 2nd Place Daily Life, 2017
Siena International Photo Awards. Remarkable Artwork Award, 2017
Pablo Hojas Llama. Winner, 2017
Life Press Foto. Best Author, 2017
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Spot News (single), 2017
Life Press Foto. Silver Medal Spot News (series), 2017
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Portrait (series), 2017
Life Press Foto. Gold Medal Daily Life (single), 2017
Life Press Foto. Top Award Diploma NSPAU, 2017
Oasis Photo Contest. Honorable Mention, 2017
Oasis Photo Contest. Magazine Award Commended, 2017
Palm Springs Photo Festival. Finalist, 2017
Fine Art Photography Awards. Nominee, 2017
Nikonians Photography Awards. Finalist, 2017
Santander Photo. Finalist, 2017
All About Photo International Photo Contest. Jurors Merit, 2017
Onyx International Exhibition of Photography. PSA HM, 2017
La Grande Photo. 2nd place “People”, 2016
La Grande Photo. 2nd place “Children”, 2016
International Photographer of the Year (IPOTY). Editorial. HM, 2016
International Photographer of the Year (IPOTY). People. HM, 2016
III Xativa’s International Photography Contest. FIAP Gold Medal, 2016
Tokyo International Foto Awards. Honorable Mention, 2016
XLIV Trofeo Guipúzcoa Internacional. FIAP Honorable Mention, 2016
Direct Look. 1st place "The Problem", 2016
Direct Look. 3d place "The Compromise", 2016
Photography Grant. Story Nominee (Sannám), 2016
Photography Grant. Story Nominee (Sorcière), 2016
Platja d’Aro. Accesit, 2016
Rivne Photographic Arts Cup. Gold Medal, 2016
Odessa/Batumi Photo Days. Open Call, 2016
Indian Photography Festival. Open Call, 2016
Siena International Photo Awards. Honorable Mention, 2016
Siena International Photo Awards. Remarkable Artwork Award, 2016
Alfred Fried Photography Award. Finalist, 2016
The Other Hundred Educators. Finalist, 2016
Moscow International Foto Awards. Honorable Mention, 2016
Grand Prize HIPA. 2016
III Documentary Photography Days, 2016
Photo Nikon Pro 2015. HM, 2015
Pictures of the Year, POYLatam. 1st Place Sports, 2015
Felix Schoeller Photo Award. Nominee, 2015
II International Digital Biennial Photojournalism. FIAP HM, 2015
International Image Festival, Finalist, FINI 2015
CFC Silver Medal 2015
Grand Prix of the Humanity Photo Award 2013 - UNESCO/CFPA
Documentary Award. Humanity Photo Awards 2013
International Documentary Photo Award GEA PHOTOWORDS (2012)
REVELA International Photo Award (2012)
FIAP’s and CEF’s Silver Medal. “A World for All: Overcoming disabilities” (2012)
Latin-American Documentary Photo Award (2010)
Cantabria´s Government Grant of Arts (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005)
III Fotoencontres del Espai de la Fotografía de Valencia Grant (2000)
Grand Prize Vizcaya´s National Photo Award (2000)
Cantabria´s Government National Photo Award (98 & 99)
National Photo Award to Young Artist (INJUVE, Madrid) (97)
Now he is based in Nicaragua and free for worldwide assignments.