Inside this issue
Based in the Basque Country, Isabel Díez is a photographic artist, lecturer, workshop leader and author of two photography books.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
The sea worked its way into Isabel’s blood from an early age, shaping her interests, career and - inevitably - her photography, about which she has said, “Since I became a photographer, everything I thought I knew has been transformed”. Much of her portfolio celebrates her relationship with the coast that she knows so well, and she is selective in choosing its quieter places.
Charlotte interviewed Isabel in 2021 about her book ‘Between Tides’, and she is also one of the subjects in René Algesheimer’s book ‘Voice of the Eyes’.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what you went on to do?
I was born and raised in the Basque Country in the 1960s. My life was split between two worlds. Nine interminable months a year were spent in an industrial town. The streets were not a suitable place for a child, so I spent many hours at home doing handicrafts and, above all, using my imagination. Painting was important to me from a very early age, and although I was not lucky enough to get proper training, I developed a strong sense of colour. We lived in a house by the sea for the rest of the year, from late spring to early autumn. It was paradise. My father had a boat to go fishing. The colours of the sea, its waves, its mood swings and its immensity mesmerized me. Exploring and discovering the wonders of the coast was exciting; I fell in love with the sea.
When I was 18, I went to the Canary Islands to study Marine Sciences. After five wonderful years there, I returned to the Basque Country, where I did my PhD in seaweeds as bioindicators of environmental quality. After that, my professional career as a researcher continued to be linked to the sea.