BEHIND THE LENS
TAYRONA, COLOMBIA BY SANTIAGO MARZOLA
Santiago Marzola was born in Medellín in the nineties. Although an artist by profession (he studied at the University of Antioquia) and simultaneously trained in fashion design, cinematography and acting, he has dedicated his life to photography; particularly creating and writing about images.
His work deals with themes such as poetry in the everyday, the construction and ambiguity between reality and fiction. He has worked with Colombian designers including Andrea Landa, Andrés Pajón, Matamba and Patricia Mejia, and collaborated with publications such as Elle Canada, Vogue México and Habitar Magazine.
Marzola currently resides in his native Medellin, where he focuses his work on the ordinary and on exploration that allows him to understand the world through what he captures and the philosophy it may contain.
What brought you to Tayrona?
I wanted to travel for my birthday, and had never been. I longed to visit a place in Colombia where I could be in silence with nature, but ended up putting it off for a couple of weeks after catching Covid. The trip made more sense once I recovered because there was more reason to celebrate and be grateful for life.
The Tayrona National Natural Park is a very large area, and I was visiting nearby places and its interior. I was particularly impressed by three things: the tone and intensity of green, the large rocks everywhere, and the mist created by the ocean waves, which spreads throughout the air and creates a subtle image on the landscape. Poorly defined… It’s like stepping into an old photo that has lost its sharpness. It seemed quite poetic to me.
What does Tayrona smell like?
Like salt and jungle.
And taste like?
Best discovery while there?
That the animals and plants are the masters of the land. I also understood why the indigenous people who live there call us younger brothers: we lack conscience.
If you had to choose your favorite activity while in Tayrona, what would it be?
The three meter waves. They shake you up and heal everything. Immersing yourself in them next to the person you love is something similar to disappearing.
What was your first impression of Tayrona?
The color of the jungle, the silence of the roads and the light in the afternoons.
If Tayrona had a soundtrack, what songs would be included?
Airplane by Björk
Plátano Maduro by Jimena Ángel
Vacances by L’Impératrice
Concentric Nothings by Lucrecia Dalt
Nangs by Tame Impala
Tu conmigo (ft. La Bien Querida) by Vitalic
Submarine by Björk
Toroka by Christian Kuria
Mountains by Hans Zimmer
Mouth’s Cradle by Björk
Sol by Alef
Time by Arca
When traveling to Tayrona, you cannot miss ____.
Good binoculars. To witness the different birds, salamanders, monkeys, insects, the density of the jungle and the detail of the stones, changes the trip completely.
A typical food or drink?
The cayeye, which is guineo (a type of banana) crushed with coastal cheese and butter. It is eaten as breakfast for energy in the morning and for long walks.
Something everyone should know before visiting Tayrona?
It is a sacred land, and it must be treated with respect and humility, as well as all the beings that inhabit it.
What is the most unique thing about Tayrona, something you have not seen elsewhere?
The possibility of having your feet in the sea very early in the morning and, if it’s a clear day, observing the Sierra Nevada. It’s indescribable.
Any local words or slang?
Karldikukui, which means Mother of Water. The common philosophy of the Sierra is based on life and fertility expressed through the water of the snow, the sea, the rivers, the streams and the rains.
What is beauty to you?
That which is natural and everything that comes from there.