In the 70s and 80s, the Tabernas desert near Almeria in Southern Spain became the Hollywood of Westerns. It was here that legendary filmmaker Sergio Leone made movies like Once Upon a Time in the West, For a Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, making the desert of Tabernas, with its landscapes, movie sets, and relatively low cost, a significant point of reference for Westerns. In the 90s, filmmakers stopped making movies in Almeria mainly because the conditions were no longer affordable. The film sets were turned into fairgrounds or abandoned, and the people who worked and lived around the cinema circuit, such as stuntmen and extras, dedicated themselves to doing Western performances to attract tourists. The economic crisis in Spain has also affected this industry, which is yearning for the glory days of Western movies. In reality, the performances for tourists evoke an era that is disappearing, and the faces of the performers reveal their melancholy expectation of an end that has already been announced.
The melancholy does not only come from the end of a golden era in cinema: it has become an imitation of an imitation. Man tries to find a certain dose of fiction, not only as a way of escape, but because of a need to explore the possible apart from the real – what has been left out or could have been (and is not).
In the historical context of the crisis and limited horizons, the imaginary Western is the projection of a possibility of the west.
Alvaro Deprit (1977) divides his time between Rome and Istanbul. Alvaro’s work has been exhibited in festivals and galleries in Arles, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, London and New York and his clients and publications include L’Espresso, Newsweek, Internazionale, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Lens (New York Times), British Journal of Photography, Playboy. In 2012 Alvaro won the PHotoEspaña OjodePez Human Values Award, BJP’s International Photography Award and Viewbook Photostory Contest and recognitions such as Voies Off Arles and Sony Award.