State of Independence I

A short set of film photographs taken at various demonstrations and protest points in Barcelona over the last week. These are the result of a proposed “independence” referendum being pushed through by the regional parliament against the wishes of the central government in Madrid. The result is a political disaster, creating ever deeper and more dangerous divides both internally in Catalunya and externally with Spain. So far the protests have largely been very peaceful, typically involving a few tens of thousands of people from diverse backgrounds. While there has been […]

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Encants III – Architecture in Blue

Two short galleries of very different architectural images, taken on a short walk around the area of the Encants market at Glories, Barcelona. The area is undergoing a construction boom at present, with large modern developments for housing of all types, offices, hotels and additional space for schools and universities. Much of this architecture makes a complete break with Barcelona’s historical building styles, adopting a very modern glass-and-steel approach.

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#VolemAcollir: Massive Protests in Support of Refugees in Catalunya

A set of images from #VolemAcollir – an immense protest organised in Barcelona in support of refugees. The main slogan “Prou excuses. Acollim ara” can be translated as “Enough excuses. We welcome now”. This reflects concern that the central Spanish government is not fulfilling its commitments to settling refugees, and also a recent call for Catalunya to provide even more direct support. After enduring months of watching the US and the UK slide into a mire of hard-rightwing xenophobia it is incredibly uplifting to see people here in Catalunya marching in support of […]

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Barcelona: Tourist Go Home

A set of photographs from the Ocupació de les Rambles, Barcelona. This was a citizens protest march which combined a diverse range of groups and issues that affect the lives of ordinary people living in Barcelona today. There were several key issues being protested: the unsustainable level of tourism and its effect on local residents, the cost of property and rents, and forced evictions of people with mortgage arrears. All of these are combining to destroy the quality of life of people living in the city, and indications are that […]

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Barcelona: Manteros, Tourists and Luxury Yachts

There are few more poignant symbols of the problems in Barcelona than photographs taken around the newly redeveloped harbour area between Port Vell and Barceloneta. Here, tourists newly disembarked from cruise ships or disgorged from the flood of incoming flights to El Prat walk past rows and rows of “manteros” – illegal immigrants selling fake designer sunglasses, handbags, shoes, hats and numerous other dubious goods. In the background is an exclusive private marina where multi-millionaires dock their luxury yachts. The blankets (mantas) are usually linked to ropes attached at each corner, so […]

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Week 16 :: Stop

Five loosely connected images taken around the centre of Barcelona. The lead image shows an illegal protest against the “Ley Mordaza” (gagging  law) – more officially and misleadingly titled as the “Ley Orgánica de Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana” (2015).

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Week 1 :: Shadows

Secrets and Lies - Occupation of our home over Christmas

One benefit of being a street photographer is that creating a photographic record of criminal activity is an instinctive reaction, even if most of the photographs for legal reasons can not be published immediately. These images have been deliberately selected from a few of the more abstract captures this week – caused by an occasional flash misfire or from several attempts to destroy the camera (as in the lead image). The photographs were processed in the frustratingly buggy Capture One Pro 9, and have no content changes or effects other than to obscure facial features in one image below.

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La Diada

La Diada and the Via Catalana

The 11th of September is the National Day of Catalunya – or more commonly just “La Diada”. Precisely three hundred years ago Catalunya lost the Siege of Barcelona ending the Spanish war of Succession and effectively establishing the basis of what has become modern Spain. And so perhaps unsurprisingly this regional day of holiday has become a focus for the Catalan independence movement. This year, the movement has become more powerful than ever as the region prepares for a vote on independence from Spain on the 9th of November. As the slogans and […]

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Independence

  September the 11th is the Diada Nacional de Catalunya – the national day of Catalunya. There is a strong push for complete separation from Spain, to create a new member state of the EU. There is a perfect storm brewing. Firstly, there is the ongoing financial crisis that means the economically prosperous Catalan region sees itself as being unjustifiably forced to subsidise the rest of the Spain. More than anything, economics (tax rises, salary cuts, lost savings and unemployment) fuels dissent. Secondly, there is the emergence of Spanish right-wing nationalism in […]

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