Sandra Balsells (Barcelona, 1966) was twenty-five when she landed in Croatia in the summer of 1991 as a contributing photojournalist for Britain's 'The Times' newspaper. She had been commissioned to document the process of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Two weeks after she arrived, war broke out, and Balsells chose to stay. From that moment until 2000, her career and her life were profoundly linked to the Balkans, where she covered successive military conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo for different media outlets, and also autonomously.
In 2002 she brought together the most powerful images from this war in a book called 'Balkan in Memoriam'. And in 2004, almost as a kind of epilogue to an entire decade of personal involvement, she made the documentary 'Retratos del alma', in which her reencounter with some of the people featured in her photos of the conflict offers us a harrowing insight into the effects of the war. For this project and for her whole body of work in the Balkans she won the 2006 Ortega y Gasset Award for the Best Reporting.
Balsells has also carried out photographic projects in Mexico, Israel, Palestine, Romania, Cuba, Canada, Italy (Sicily), Haiti and Mozambique. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and curated several shows, including 'Latidos de un mundo convulso' (Espai Cultural Caja Madrid, 2007) and 'Desaparecidos' (MUSAC, CCCB and La Casa Encendida, 2011), a retrospective of the work of the photojournalist Gervasio Sánchez.
In 2007 MACBA commissioned her to produce a photographic report on the education of the elites, as part of the group project Metropolitan Images of the New Barcelona. The result of this investigation was the series 'Formación global. IESE', 2007, which now forms part of the MACBA Collection.