Ibiza

[Photography by Henry Roy]

I saw More again this year, Barbet Schroeder’s first feature-length film. It portrays the limits of the cultural revolution, which, even more than the year 2000, inaugurates the third millennium. This was the famous “sex, drugs & rock & roll” era, greatly missed by those who lived it.

For the past thirty years, this demonically magnetic island has continued to glorify the libertarian dream of the sixties. But the rustic beauty seen in Barbet Schroeder’s images has been distorted by the mercantile nightmare of mass urbanism. Not a single square meter of the island has escaped from the tidal wave of tourists and their excesses of all sorts.

Nevertheless, nature has preserved, in secret islets, this Mediterranean charm with North African influences that has seduced millions of ‘fans’ from all over the world. I happen to be one of them. Going to Ibiza this year for the umpteenth time, I thought about the aesthetic style of More (the height of what is called “hippie chic”). I began to fantasize, once again, about this utopian (blessed?) era.

I thought, without fully believing it, that everything must have been more beautiful and more intense, that it was worth it to live one’s youth burning the candle at both ends, under a heavy sun that turned everything erotic, even the petrified rocks on the seaside. But it was raining heavy drops and spring was taking its time to rid us of the winter weather. Only the persisting wind and the monolithic “Vedra” reflected the magic of the great Barbet’s images. And it happens that I had indeed come to bury what was left of my youth.

My wife and I were living the very last free moments of our life as a couple without children. Coming back from this short vacation, I knew that I had to take on the role of a responsible father, a prospect which, up into my late forties, had signified the end of the world. I wandered alone, camera in hand, in a desperate search of lights that would rival those captured in the film. The bad weather continued, as if to mock me. For the first time in my life, I was to know the supreme humiliation of a ruined vacation, returning pale and with the bitterness of having wasted one’s savings.

My brother Axel joined us and the long-awaited sun followed shortly. All of a sudden everything changed in such a radical manner that it took our breath away. The absolute pureness of the air, cleansed by the fog, dazzled us. At last we were on Ibiza! We had found the fabulous setting of More, the haunting theatre of the summer fantasies of two generations. Except that, unlike the narrator in the film, we did not slide down the hard path of drugs toward a tragic end, but witnessed with fascination the emergence of a new life.

Nature gave us a completely different message. My gaze became drowned in a Dali sky, where I thought I was seeing the ‘remake’ of the fabulous summer of when I was twenty, when the future seemed without limit.