Photographer Kate Bellm on Her Dreamy New Book, La Isla

and the ‘Lawless’ Hotel in Mallorca She’s Opening This Summer

How did this project come about?

Don’t burst my bubble though, please…

Photo: Kate Bellm

This project came about simply by living here! These images are literally my neighbors’ everyday lives.

Obviously I beautify it with my lens—that’s what I know how to do. But nothing here is set up—they’re all moments I captured, not created.

I knew where to go and where to be, but it’s this place that’s so special—being nude and being free are so normal here.

Did the largely restricted world of years have anything to do with this?

Photo: Kate Bellm

One hundred percent: I was just here, literally just watching flowers bloom in my garden, and rather than get down about it, I got inspired by it, and I fell so hard in love with this island—I explored the island so much—this field and that plant when it blooms with those flowers near that riverbed and those palm trees.

I’ve been living in Mallorca for seven years now, but it still surprises me a lot.

How did you come to shoot underwater?

Photo: Kate Bellm

This is just us in our natural wonderland—literally a group of us hanging out at the beach, and someone’s like, “Hey girls, let’s go for a swim,” and we’re all together and they’re all local girls who are used to diving down in the Mediterranean here, where it’s free of currents or dangerous animals.

Do you have specific influences on your work?

Photo: Kate Bellm

In my earlier career I was super inspired by Helmut Newton and Mario Testino and all these big dogs who did big, glamorous, beautiful work—but now, honestly, I’m 100% inspired by my garden: It’s all yellow and purple right now, and it’s my greatest inspiration.

What’s in your garden?

Photo: Kate Bellm

It’s a wonderland of succulents and cactus—my husband is Mexican and is a wonderful landscaper of cactus and such, but my English side comes out with a lot of mimosa blooms and beautiful tiny flowers.

Tell me about Hotel Corazon, though, if you would.

Photo: Kate Bellm

I think we’re creating the thing we’re missing, basically: Super healthy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, very laid back, but the rooms very luxurious, with good beauty brands; oh—and a great bikini shop. Just the things we need, really: Smoothies, bikinis, barefoot, smoke some weed at the table.

Lawless—we’re going to be a lawless hotel.

Do you have any of that strange double-sided worry,

What if nobody comes—but what if everybody comes?

Photo: Kate Bellm

Not really. It’s a UNESCO site, and the roads are tiny.

And for sure it’s not for everybody—you’ve got to be an adventurer to really uncover the beauty of Mallorca.

You’ve got to hike down some rocky little roads to get to the secret beaches; we meet out in the middle of the sea and have picnics on a rock.

More Photos an the Full Interview

Photo: Kate Bellm

Ever felt the need to, you know, check out for a while? Nothing dire, mind you—just some vague, free-floating yearning to immerse yourself deeply in something far-away and joyous as an antidote—conscious or not—to These Times We Live In?

I found my salvation recently paging through Kate Bellm’s sumptuous new book La Isla (Mirage), which chronicles a dreamy, carefree and oddly languorous existence of swimming, diving, skateboarding, and nude knitting on the coasts and in the underwater caves and amidst the cactus groves of Mallorca.

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