The photographic museum of Bayonne and the golden eagles of Álava

Golden eagles.
Golden eagles.

The Didam photographic museum in Bayonne is hosting a photographic project dedicated to a pair of golden eagles in Alava by the young San Sebastian-born Martín Barandalla, who is presenting his first exhibition in which he vindicates his passion for photography and activism in defence of nature.

Martín Barandalla. ©Ramón Arambarri
Martín Barandalla. ©Ramón Arambarri

In 2019 the young photographer Martin Barandalla visited for the first time the only commercial hide in the Basque Country to observe golden eagles, located near Pobes, a council in the municipality of Ribera Alta, in the province of Álava. After a first dive in which he managed to capture the essence of the birds of prey, he decided to embark on an adventure to immerse himself in their habitat and monitor the birds' activity through observation, photographs and videos. Thus, for nine months, every day, the photographer walked an average of 4 hours to explore the immense territory of the eagles in search of new discoveries that would reveal the keys to their habits and customs.


The young photographer's work is now on display in a free exhibition at the French Basque photographic museum Didam in Bayonne until 12 February 2023. The exhibition includes a set of 25 photographs and an 8-minute short film showing the life of the pair of golden eagles featured in this story.

In addition, thanks to the extensive material collected during his long stay, Barandalla decided to create an audiovisual series that allows us to expand on what his photographs hide. In the creation of the series, the photographer involved people who still live close to the eagles, such as farmers and hunters, managing to capture the essence of the whole environment he studied inch by inch. 2023 could be the year of its release.

Nature protection

No other subject seemed more appropriate for Martin Barandalla to start this new venture: activism in defence of nature. For the photographer, the birds, plants and landscapes that surround us -and which he has captured through the lens of his camera- are a gift to be protected.

His philosophy is set out as a code of understanding between the individuals who inhabit a space that is shared with other animal species. An exhibition that ultimately seeks to convey the beauty of nature while promoting knowledge and respect for the natural habitat; a philosophy of life through the art of photography.

Martín Barandalla Santamaría

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