ORIOL MASPONS - Or the Ibiza we don’t want to forget

Image post: ORIOL MASPONS - Or the Ibiza we don’t want to forget

ORIOL MASPONS, Or the Ibiza we don’t want to forget. 

By Luisa Ricart 

Photos: © Oriol Maspons

To a large extent, Oriol Maspons’ legacy translates into a unique perspective of Ibiza’s golden years. The artist and the Mediterranean island, which are like two peas in a pod, have several things in common: provocative, uninhibited and politically incorrect. This union responds to many reasons, summed up in the here and now.

Featuring the beach, dancing, novelty, irony, fun, female nudity, idyllic landscapes and costumbrist characters, Maspons’ work reflects the diversity and vitality of the 70s and 80s, why the best things in life are never perfect, they simply are. 

You will have heard a similar story before, following the classic tales of yore. Oriol met his wife, Coral, while working as a photographer. She was almost twenty years younger and worked as a model (although she later became a chemist). Together, they built a beautiful clan of three that stayed together until the end of their lives.

It is said that people who truly care about us view our past as a roadmap for how to love us. Indeed;we are sum of every success but also of every mistake.

Although they speak for themselves, there is only one way to capture the essence of the snapshots that illustrate this article: by understanding Maspons’ personal side. Ultimately, smelling a Santa Maria Novella perfume is one thing. Smelling the fragrance of sun cream, saltpetre, pine and fig trees evokes memories of a first kiss on that magical cove; that first love is something entirely different.

For Oriol, Ibiza was not just a photographic destination but a place steeped in family memories and unforgettable experiences. His connection went beyond the mere visual capture; it was an emotional bond that lasted over time. He started going there in the 1950s and, attracted by its unique atmosphere, visited regularly.

“In the 1980s, when I accompanied him, he said that Ibiza had lost its soul; it wasn’t what it used to be. However, you have to consider that he knew the island from thirty years before,” points out Alex Maspons, his only son.

Alex was close to his parents and spent over a decade summering on the island, enjoying dips in the crystal-clear water.

“Interviú, the magazine my father worked for as a photojournalist, took care of accommodation, food and all our transfers. So, in his inner circle, no one hindered his work. It was a win-win situation for everyone,” Alex confesses.

Beyond aesthetics, this wizard, whose lens was his wand, took photographs that encapsulated the spirit of an era of freedom and experimentation. Ibiza, back then, was a melting pot of cultures and different lifestyles, where festivals, hippies and the first clubs coexisted in harmony. His images show this in great detail, showing life precisely as it was.

“It is extremely interesting to observe these disparities and see how they managed to maintain such an extraordinary balance. I doubt there is anywhere else in the world today with these characteristics, says Alex. He continues: “Now that there are so many anti-tourism movements, I like to argue that Ibiza became incredibly enriched by opening its doors to outsiders.”

For this artist, this laissez-faire laissez-passer (let it pass) atmosphere was a testament to the richness that diversity brings. That’s just the way it is: there is no other place in the universe when we are in Ibiza. I am referring to its bewitching light, spontaneous mood and “enjoy life while you can” vibe. Ibiza never judges and doesn’t care if it is judged. It allows us to be less cerebral, less restrained. A little messy and much more present. It reconciles us with uncertainty, which is what travelling is for, ladies and gentlemen.

As with youth, its fleeting appeal has to do with its ephemerality. This is what happens with beauty; we need to keep it close and chain it to ourselves to prolong its duration. I’m sure Pérez Siquier or Xavier Miserachs would agree with me. Maspons played a significant role in the renewal of photography’s language. In this respect, it was a song that sounded just as it was hummed, the lift waiting on the landing, the arrival at the cocktail party when the waiters are about to serve the canapés.

He represented the impact of tourism and foreign fashions like no one else. If the theme was skimpy bikini and topless, there was no doubt about the trend: skimpy bikini and topless. It also changed the type of women that was extolled, from the homely housewife in a quilted dressing gown to the modern and sensual, preferably Nordic, woman. Through his lens passed the faces of intellectuals, filmmakers, mannequins, writers and architects. Maspons masterfully captured femininity, exhibiting it in different roles and contexts.

To sum up: Ibiza was much more than a photographic stage; it was a refuge where he enjoyed the company of people and, above all, dogs, two of his greatest sources of inspiration. Although he lamented the island’s changes, his love remained unwavering, rooted in the freshness and vibrant energy that still permeated its streets. It is hard to believe that all these portraits were commissioned: they look so casual. Even so, Alex reveals that his father became a photographer to flirt.

“He had a great sense of humour and a unique personality, zero diplomacy. His authenticity and inexhaustible passion can be summed up in this mantra: live and let live,” says Alex, somewhat emotional.

At this point, I have to ask Alex about his father’s relationship with social networks. “He wouldn’t have disapproved of influencers as a concept because, when he disliked someone, it was always for a personal reason. Anyway, there were already social networks: celebrity magazines and radio programmes, for example. Back in the day, journalists were influencers and cultural references. If Pilar Eyre went to Marbella, everyone went to Marbella.”

The fact is that, with its exoticism and his unashamedly svelte, tanned, platinum-blonde girls, Maspons decreed that the place to be was Ibiza. He spoke, and the rest listened. And what follows, well, you know as well as I do.

*All photos are taken from the upcoming book ORIOL MASPONS IBIZA published by IDEA available from the 23rd April. All photographs are retailed as exclusive Limited Edition prints from Agony and Ecstasy Ibiza Gallery.

*The book is available for sale at all Concept Hotel Group hotels.



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