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May 15, 2012 marked the one year anniversary of Spain’s Indignado movement, more famously known as the event which sparked similar Occupy movements in cities around the globe. The day started out with the Occupation of Puerta del Sol and at around 12.30 a.m., the massive group of people took to the streets. The following image was taken shortly after two men entered into a slight confrontation with riot police, resulting in the protesters stripping naked in the middle of the street near Banco de Espana.
I will be uploading the entire set from these protests onto my website in the following days.
As I was covering the Holy Saturday processions in Madrid, I came across a small, dark alley way. Here I found the home of a local street performer that I had seen on countless occasions standing in the main square, dressed in his mouse costume for the amusement of local and foreign children. As a crucified Christ passed by on the shoulders of the devoted, I felt more compelled to visually tell a part of this mans unknown story than to capture what was happening outside.
Body image is something that almost everyone deals with. Whether male or female, young or old, it is hard to escape the mainstream ideals on what is defined as the perfect body. The problem that today’s generation faces is that we are absolutely saturated in beauty. With almost every turn, on almost every channel, you are confronted with this idea of beauty and what it means or takes to achieve the ideal body. You no longer see yourself as you are, but as you hope to be. And you are not alone. We all deal with this need, this desire to be better; shinier hair, whiter teeth, slimmer waist, longer legs, more tanned, more toned, six pack (or is it now an eight pack?), bigger biceps, smaller nose, smoother skin…should I continue?
Yes, these ads and music videos with ‘perfect bodied’ people are definitely not hard to look at. They are sexy and fun, they transport us into another life, another world where we can (no, we are!) just like them. And that is all good, for the moment. Until we close the magazine, change the channel or walk past that larger than life poster; we are then left with ourselves, obsessing over what we could be. All I’m trying to say is that we all have the ability to start accepting who we are, as we are. Granted, the ‘want to’ may always be there…let’s just try and get ourselves away from the ‘need to’.
On March 29th, Madrid took part in a nation wide strike to protest the new labour reform laws that are being implemented by the government. The downtown core was transformed into a living wave of Spaniards, marching their detoured path through the narrow streets from Banco de Espana to Puerta del Sol. Sporadically, pockets within the immense group would stop and demand the immediate closure of any stores that were unwilling to join in on the strike. These shops would either give in and close, or see their doors turned into police barricades.
As I spent the better part of my day photographing from within the crowd, the optimistic side of me would want nothing more than to have the voices of these people heard. Although, as a journalist -and a realist-, I am able to see that even though these laws will inevitably push the already alarming unemployment rate that much higher, they will also become a Spanish reality. This will either save Spain from bankruptcy, or spiral it’s frustrated people into a string of riots -maybe even both-. We all know that it is darkest before the dawn, so let us hope -for Spain and Europe’s sake-, that the dawn arrives before it is too late.
I always love photographing the people that ride the public transport systems. There is never a lack of interesting photo ops. Here are a couple from a growing collection of mine.
Two people from very different walks of life ride the Metro side by side.
Three friends joke with each other as they wait for the next train where they will hopefully earn some extra money playing their music for the other riders.