Submerged: A dialogue with Salvo Bombara

With: Juan Pablo Torres Muñiz
It’s about photography. Of the moment, that’s suddenly, transcendent; how it acquires depth and becomes a kind of prism through which our brightness – knowledge and understanding – is disrupted, changed and expanded.
The more universal the elements that compose the image, the more complex the network of references is, because even if there is a connection with the person who contemplates the work, it is easy to lose it among trite generalities, confusion and common places. Succeeding requires, in any case, consistency in the form, the outline and the tone, all that results in significant silence (a true dialogue space).
Salvo Bombara joins us to immerse ourselves with him. And he says…

It’s not “pretending”… it’s an expression of my feelings; or, if you prefer, a photographic transposition of my emotions.
The body. Women, men.
Water. The sea, other wells.
Nature. A return to the origin.
And the dance.
I don’t shoot these images to satisfy someone or to send a “message” out there, it’s more like the urge to create and empty my brain that pushes me to go underwater with my camera.
A story. A moment…
Image and literature can be complementary. But both photography and text work well alone, accompanied only by imagination of the observer or reader.
They are both texts. They are read. And it corresponds as much between the first ones as between the second ones a same substantial distinction:
In terms of information, reporting, we always have action, movement, displacement. We recognize the elements involved, precisely because of this game; the reading of its dynamics is the key to the discourse. In the different scenes, various elements appear and disappear. They are new, occasional, even extras.
On the other hand, poetry –although not as a literary genre, but as an experience– is given –also in narrative prose– in and with the suspension of time; therefore, through a dynamic of word, note, stroke: of abstraction. It puts a few elements into play, but in full power: showing off its ability to alter other elements, give rise to or change phenomena, as well as the perception of them.
I think it’s possible to communicate everything through images. You know, sometimes an image can speak more than a thousand words. It’s true. But it depends on how good you are at expressing what you’d like to say through other means. Not easy at all.
The degree of difficulty corresponds to the estimate of the speed with which one considers it possible to approach the objective –which is, at the same time, a vision that in itself attracts and guides, it leads–: how quickly it is possible to learn, adapt, change and unlearn to start over, accumulating dexterity.
This is why one can, and even should,  feed off different disciplines, ignoring, on the other hand, certain influences, that are, let’s say, closer…
My inspiration comes from paintings, music and poetry. Not from other photography, even if I love to look at other photographers’ work.
So the recurring motive… lives by itself, from its elements.
Water… like a womb but also like a tomb. 
Rebirth and oblivion. 
Life and death.
But if at this point we refer to the elements again, it is to insist that there are only a few. And in this particular case, there strength is largely unmanageable (which results in the idea of an authentic synchrony).
They have to help in the production of each image, the new resources…
Helps me for sure. I always avoid adding or deleting something from the original file. The light in my photos is real. The surface acts as a filter. But colors are often drifted in obscure directions in order to satisfy my taste, and to do this, good raw files are needed. Holy digital photography! I enjoy editing my photos until I see something that makes me feel a strong emotion. But I can tell if an image has potential immediately after I got it, while I’m still underwater.
It tells you something… It sings to you. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the coincidence occurs, so that they fit voice, notes and atmosphere, and light and shadow, form and volume…
I’d like to be asked about what kind of music I was listening during the creation of a specific image, or what would be the right soundtrack to listen while staring at one of my photos. Music has a very important role in my editing process and it’s the soul of every picture.
The key lies in…
(Translation by Isabella Farrell)


  1. Thank you for the terrific article

  2. Thanks for the excellent post

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