Reflecting on Heaven and Heartbreak on Indonesia's Komodo Island

Each photograph Salva López took of the beaches of Bali and the lush greenery of Komodo sparked memories of days spent sailing and snorkelling, and indulging in massages and seaside naps, while island–hopping in southern Indonesia with his partner. But beneath the calm surface of these idyllic snapshots, there’s a strong emotional current: López and his partner broke up just a few months later. After revisiting Komodo on his own, the artist realized that there is a resiliency to memories of exploration and wonder. “I still often imagine sailing in search of the famous Komodo dragons,” he says. “It was a time when I felt true happiness.”

Apr 01, 2019
Palm leaves in a jungle.
The mast of a small boat with water in the background.
Aboard a boat in Komodo.
A woman with a flower-print dress covering her face.
The photographer’s ex–girlfriend, sailing past the Komodo archipelago.
A man in a t-shirt holding a length of rope with his back to camera, looking out at water.
Watching the water on a boat in Komodo.
Two Komodo dragons, one laying its head on the other's back.
Dragon–spotting on Rinca Island.
A woman's mostly exposed back, with markings from a sun lounger. She has a towel on.
Out of the sun, in Labuan Bajo.
A translucent curtain over a window looking out at trees and water.
Kanawa Island, from the window.
A papaya tree.
A papaya tree on Kanawa Island.
A palm tree.
Palm tree at Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali.
A manta ray in clear blue water.
A manta ray at Manta Point in Komodo.