This project’s original concept was the execution of a photo essay inspired by poetic reason, the essential core of María Zambrano’s thinking.
María Zambrano is without question the most relevant woman in the Spanish twentieth century thought and culture. Her work is a philosophy of the unseen, understood as a reality that lies in dreams and intuitions revealed in the form of images, symbols and metaphors.
This project was developed in 2017 thanks to a fellowship granted by the Real Academia de España in Rome, under the AECID Spanish Agency for International Cooperation
This project exposes the challenges of the Baka People in Cameroon as they are loosing their own land and indentity threatened by transnational companies.
The Baka, indigenous peoples of Cameroon, are facing a serious departure from their traditional way of life due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that has been forced upon them for years. They were expelled from their ancestral lands, which have been turned into protected areas of the Dja Faunal Reserve and into concessions granted to transnational companies that exploit natural resources such as gold, iron and wood. However, the Baka People see themselves as the guardians of the forest.
The stories that have been captured in the selected photographs document a problem that currently affects 2.826.549 boys and girls in Spain: one of poverty and social exclusion. Children in Spain are present citizens and key actors of the future of this country. The economic crisis has exposed many families to the effects of lower income, which has increased the rates of poverty and social exclusion. It is a severe situation that takes place in the everyday lives of children, becoming an obstacle for the enjoyment of their human rights (right to shelter, right to food, right to education, right to health, etc.) as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Detroit is one of the most run-down cities in the US. Economic liberalism has shown its darkest side here, leaving Motor City with open wounds and in ruins, turning it into a ghost town.
The majority of the population is African-American, and it has some of the highest levels of unemployment and criminal activity in the US. However, Detroit is taking a breath of fresh air in a slow but renewed process of optimistic transformation.
Cape Verde is one of the gateways to Africa, a bridge territory in constant movement between and dialogue with Africa, Latin America and Europe. Its assets are its geopolitical position and marine resources. Its population is the product of intermixing between ethnicities from various African kingdoms and sailors of different European fleets that docked on the islands, where the Portuguese carried out the slave trade.
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