© Photos: Humberto Ybarra; Text: Diego Gadir

One day I discovered, to my surprise and joy, that Humberto Ybarra, besides empathy and sensibility, had an artist´s eye.

As a photographer, Humberto is a boneless soul. A soul so ethereal that, ocassionally, he makes us think that these photos of his are born like flowers… That he doesn´t even attend in person, those misty mornings, to the foothills of the Bay of Cádiz to look through the lens of his camera. It seems that these photographs have emerged through a quantum spell that only responds to the control remote of his desire. That is, I mean to say that Humberto “disappears” behind his photos through mere humility, through a decided dissipation in being, appearing, signing. That he doesn´t look for creative prominence… That he doesn´t need it.

Ybarra is aesthetic asceticism. A silent look, above all. In the slipstream of a neorealist filmmaker when he portraits the uninhabited landscape and looks to enhance compassion faced with the relentless tyranny of time. Not in vain, one of the things that annoy him the most is that one has to die.

Patience is his virtue in front of the scene he photographs: to let the mist settle; the exact cloud; the strange, unrepeatable bird… That is how the skies of Dreyer emerged. And an enormous capacity to understand the rhythms of nature. The science that winnows the fields of Hopper or frosts the glasses of Zóbel. And all of this mixed with faith in the sacred essence of the landscape. His photography is that of a believer who receives a silent revelation, of the beauty of creation. God tends to reveal himself whispering more in the miracle of art than in the meccano of thought. When Wittgenstein cites God in Skjolden, the silence is exasperating…

In the work of Humberto something sublime always appears by his invocation. A humidity of aluminum... A luminous allusion. But there is always a transcendence in the landscape. Looking, his eye looks… but shooting, his ego does not shoot. As I say, it seems like no one shoots. Or, at least, that someone shoots who doesn´t impose himself but for his observant – more than imaginative – sensibility, in the orbit of Néstor Almendros.

There is not much emotional nonsense in Humberto´s prhotography, although he knows how to reduce and push there where his work needs it. He is a calculating and sensible man. I cannot fathom him opening the tap of forced expressiveness. I do not imagine him freely adrift towards sensationalism. Love is revealed behind his view of the places and loved ones he captures. But it is a discrete declaration, the sincerest mode. He exudes equilibrium and positivity… Spiritual health.

Humberto´s photography isn´t hyper realistic. There is a lot of atmosphere sprinkled by the light, and even vanishing, that blurring of shaped under the encouragement of nature, which is a reflection of his view. When he is a conversationalist, a mere friend, his look suggests a serenity that serves him well when he takes photographs. He reminds me of Diego Velázquez as described by some historians, phlegmatic to exasperation and able to ironize with finesse.