This project documents sordid and decadent urban atmospheres and scenes from Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, commom spaces where the streets, at times are dirty, dark and unsettling.
The intimate focus of this work is on the profound loneliness and rootlessness that many people in contemporary societies in different cities live with, drowning in the crisis of values generated by the system.
The bullring houses a rich culture – resonant with voices, gestures and references rising from deep within the roots of Spanish culture; origins which themselves, lost over time, must be sought out in the anthropology and sociology of this unique world.
It is in the sand where the dramatic relationship between death, art and knowledge is played out and becomes manifest in an incessant and contradictory dialogue between nature and culture.
Bullfighting continues to express its voice in a modern Spanish society, full of contrasts. Discussing this tradition reveals two attitudes: While some view it as generating culture and meaning, for others it raises questions about ethics, the human condition and the use of a model which justifies a bull being killed for public entertainment.
The secret societies of the white masks, otherwise known as masks of the moon, are the most uncommon in Burkina Faso. These masks usually appear during religious ceremonies prior to the rainy season. Almost two centuries ago, the Kumbia family fled from tribal wars, and as they were crossing the country they had a revelation.
The masks possess an ontological category of the highest importance in the African tradition. In West Africa the mask is the most common representation of the occult and that which facilites communication between the living and the dead. They are not merely a secular representation, but rather perform an important social function in sacred and religious contexts. Secret societies and the leaders of the African tradition proudly and zealously preserve their system of beliefs and ancient mythology against external threats from the outside world.
Cuba has a great religious tradition originated primarily from Catholicism from the colonial Spanish and the African religions brought to the island by slaves between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries from the realms of Nigeria, Congo or Benin. The island has several syncretic cults such as the Palo Monte, Regla de Osha-Ifa and Abakua. This photo essay relates several public ceremonies, festivals and performances of Afro-Cuban religions as practiced today in La Havana.
City of Djinns essay is about the social minorities, the lower castes and the eunuchs of India. The project was developed in the streets of Old Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai.
It speaks of the solitude and the abandomnent of the lower castes, that live in the Red Light urban areas of India, suffer in delirium.
The project was carried out in Uzbekistan on its culture and traditions in 2005 with a grant from Casa Asia, an institution of the spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gay Pride Day was officially established in 1985 during an international conference of homosexual groups and associations. However, the first organized marches were held in 1970 in the United States to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots. The first parade held in Spain took place in 1977 in Barcelona. In 2007 Madrid was the annual host of Europride, with a parade that in recent years has received more than two million visitors from around the world.
The sex industry has positioned itself as one of the most powerful businesses in visual production and the internet. The importance of the porn industry as a world-wide phenomena is mind blowing. This type of media has permeated and has been accepted in some shape or form by all strata of society, modifying the habits of contemporary culture throughout the world.
Different platforms have grown out of the sex industry, like erotic festivals organized for the express purpose of promoting the porn industry and actors.
In 1928, a businessman named Pablo Celis Cuevas created the Bullfighter Fireman (El bombero torero) character and began acting as a comedic bullfighter imitating Charlie Chaplin. Cuevas debuted in Madrid in a festival to raise funds for Russian children who were refugees from the World War I and kept the show going for over two decades. In 1953 he created a new act in which he incorporated eight dwarves into his group. Since then this spectacle has been performed in Spain and other countries like France, Algeria, China and Lebanon. Even today, there are still companies that put on this show in a variety of bullfighting festivities throughout Spain.
In 1920 Lieutenant Colonel Millán Astray together with General Franco founded the Spanish Legion Brigade, inspired by the French Legion military model, which trained to defend the interests of its colonies in Africa. The Spanish Legion is a military brigade founded to fight Spain’s wars in the Sahara and Morocco at the beginning of the twentieth century.
At present the Spanish Legion is considered one of the most effective skirmishers(light infantry) in the world. Their presence has been requested for both NATO and UN missions, and they have regularly taken part in special operations and covert missions.
The Legion has a strict discipline and an extremely demanding training regimen. The legionnaires are prepared to die in hand to hand combat. Extreme loyalty to the brotherhood and other unusual rules define their internal code of conduct. They call themselves and the Grooms of “Death” and they worship the Christ of the Buena Muerte (Good Death).
Mexico is an area of the world which is hard and difficult. A land where the majority of the people survive amidst great social inequalities and among many problems stemming from migratory movements. The native indian world is broken and unorganized, now they live in the cities as the land is no longer theirs to use. In cities where one feels as if he is inside a banging jaw and where it is each man to himself. Corruption and danger exist at all social levels, no-one is safe. It is a place in the world where reality shows itself in a surrealistic way, the logic of the unexpected does not deliver justice and makes the judiciary scales sway between life and death with no concessions. Chance is almost always called chaos. It is a deeply religious society where the indigenous population lives alongside the more “illustrated “and contemporaneous minorities it is a beautiful and decadent country, alive and tragic, disturbing, of many contrasts and with marvellous cultural baggage. A land of flowers and skulls, of magical realism.
© 2014 Aitor Lara – Photographer