Getting to know and share ideas with Gervasio Sánchez may have been one of the most important and nurturing experiences that I have had in terms of photography. He is a Spanish Photojournalist with a fierce passion for documenting the truth. He visited our country to present the 3rd publication of his project “Vidas Minadas – 10 Años” (Mined Lives – 10 Years) where includes photographs of a fellow Salvadoran that was injured from a landmine in our civil war. He spent three days in our country and gave 3 lectures during that week for a sum of almost 10 hours of informative photography discussion.
As well as portraying the most vulnerable protagonists of the horrors of wars, he has followed them for many years, photographing and providing updates on the lives of those who remained alive. It was not difficult for me to see the true commitment that Gervasio has which is a real commitment with people who have experienced great misfortunes. He treats them with love and respect. This nature cannot only be felt in the way he speaks, but also by looking at his photographs.
During his continuous visits to the places that have been struck by human violence, he looks for answers which are rarely satisfied. I remember him speaking about one tragic event he witnessed in which a girl who was only 81-days old died after an attack to the civilians in Sarajevo. Every time he has the opportunity of visiting this place he brings her flowers because nobody else brings flowers to her grave. This showed me the great level of commitment that a photographer can actually have for things that go beyond documenting and informing. This is the dignity that countries need and Gervasio fiercely defends it to restore all the wounds that wars leave behind.
In Sarajevo he took pictures of the early injured Adis, a young man who suffered a lot thanks to an antipersonnel mine. Thanks to the efforts made by Gervasio and the media that works with him, Adis has been able to get access to several surgeries that have had a positive impact in his life. This kind of involvement is a constant recurrence in Gervasio’s life as he really cares about people and experiences like this make him a unique person indeed.
He is interested in telling stories through his photos as closely as possible. With experiences and examples like these, I have a better understanding of Capa's famous phrase “If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough”. This referred to not only the physical proximity of the photographer to the subject at the moment but also the emotional proximity. Through this, he highlighted the importance of gaining the trust of the subjects of our photographs.
With his lectures (and after-talks over beers), I learned many important things that have boosted my inner self and my vision of the world. With him, I learned that wars don’t end even when Wikipedia says they do. I also learned many other great things that cope clearly with truth and that I want to share with you.