One Saturday, my friend Erin proposed to me a photo project: The Ugly Ibiza.
Why on earth, with such beautiful scenery, breathtaking sunsets, and turquoise Mediterranean water, would one want to find the “ugly” parts of it? Just google “Ibiza” and thousands of picturesque views (and not to mention wild parties) will appear on your search screen.
(It’s important to note, that like any term such as “good,” “bad,” “beautiful,” or “ugly” are subjective and open to interpretation. The use of the word “ugly” in this post will be within the perimeters of the widely socially accepted version of “beauty” and “ugliness“)
As we were walking around Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town, Erin turned to me and said, “People come here with their own reality of what they believe Ibiza is. And there is an entire part that they choose not to see.”
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s beautiful Ted Talk “The Danger of Single Story,” she warns us promoting stereotypes and only half of what someone, or in this case, some place, does. While a “single story” dangerously tells one side, that doesn’t reflect reality, but rather the author’s false version of that story, part of the identity, the beauty, and the authenticity of _________ (fill in the blank) is forever lost.
However, reversing the trend to tell a single story rehumanizes us. Adichie explains, “That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
For this reason, Erin and I would like to invite you to see Ibiza Town through our lens. And paradoxically, the “ugly” side, might just be paradise. At least according to Adichie’s explanation.
What is our lens? The Ibiza that is ignored. Some might refer to it as “real life,” or the every day life of a city that is inevitable. Ugly is a loaded term – especially considering when beauty could describe all of the photos, depending on how you look at them.
Therefore, we are not promising “the real Ibiza” in these photos; for that would be implying that there is one story to Ibiza. However, we are encouraging you to engage with these photos and notice what is ignored by those who walk through Dalt Vila’s cobblestone streets. Most importantly, many of what makes these photos “ugly” is the man-made destruction behind them. Tourists and locals alike (forget it, all creatures) are often unaware of their impact.
Critics and opinions welcome – leave a comment or tweet at me @yasminesoyyo
Just like any place around the world, Ibiza is full of chain stores and inauthentic consumerism.
If you thought the boobs were only for the beach, you’re wrong. They are also for Graffiti.
This project has reinforced the idea that in order to get a feel for the place, you must know all its facets. Similar to how in order to feel closer to people, we must know all of their ups and downs, positives and negatives.
I challenge myself, as I also challenge you, to try to get a feel for the next place you go; find out what makes it beautiful, find out what makes it “ugly.” Find its many sides, its positives and negatives, and there, you will find paradise.