Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity – the pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

Barcelona is a fantastic city with plenty to offer every type of tourist, from palm-fringed beaches, to world-clas cuisine and a rich cultural heritage.It is little surprise, therefore, that the Catalan capital is as popular as it is. Last year alone, 9 million people stayed in the city’s hotels and a futrther 9 million

However, some would argue that there are too many tourists in Barcelona, so much so, that there have been recent protests against the rising tide.

I peronally love Barcelona and I understand that tourism drives a big part of the local economy. However, I can certainly comprehend the voices of locals who are tired of unsustainble, mainstream tourism, which is rife throughout the city. Here are some of my images of excessive tourism and its pitfalls in Barcelona.

To quote Banksy, “This is not a photo opportunity”

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcelona: Part Five: Throwback Time

 

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Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art – Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

Barcelona’s street art, for me, is some of the best in Europe. The city’s Raval, Gòtic and Gràcia districts all contain plenty of powerful, sometimes obtrusive street art that reflects the tensions and strugges of the region.

Here are some of my photos of the Barcelona’s street art.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part One: Architecture

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcleona: Part Five: Throwback Time

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

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Camera : Iphone 3

Locations: Parque Guell, Caixa Forum, Barri Raval, Barcelona

Visiting Barcelona Part Five: Throwback time

The next article in my Barcelona series is a throwback to my last trip to the city in 2015 with 2 of my best friends. Barcelona was the first city of our road trip (we went on to Valencia and Ibiza thereafter). Thank you to our Catalan friends, Ares, Aina and Claudia, for hosting us.

Here are my pictures from Barcelona, August 2015. They are all from a lovely afternoon atop Turó de la Rovira (aka Bunkers del Carmel) – quite possibly the best place to get a 360 view of Barcelona, and thankfully, not yet popular amongst tourist or locals.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part One: Architecture

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art – Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

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Visiting Barcelona: Part Three: La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia has to be the epitomy of a work that will never be complete. While some may irk at its tendency to be covered in tarpaulins from time to time owing to the constant work on it, one can argue that it is this feature that makes it such a memorable place.

Work first began on La Sagrada Familia in the late 1800s. Catalan architecht Antoni Gaudí took charge of the design of the church in 1883 and worked on it for the next 43 years,  until his death in 1926. He was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. Many more architechts have since taken  charge of the building process, which is estimated to come to an end later this century.

Here are my pictures of La Sagrada famila- a place of introspection, grandeur and bewilderment.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part One – Architechture

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We are not afraid) – Surviving a terrorist attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art: Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

Visiting Barcleona: Part Five: Throwback Time

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

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Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We are not afraid) – Surviving a terrorist attack

While I was in Barcelona with my family, I was also unfortunately caught up in the van attack on Las Ramblas that left 15 people dead and wounded scores of innocent men, women and children. I will be covering this tragedy in separate post. My stance towards this episode is that I am humbled to be alive and grateful for the gift of life that we so often take for granted.

But I am also angry and baffled – how can any one possibly contemplate an attack on the innocent of this nature and justify it in any way, religious or otherwise? The people that did this (most of whom got themselves shot dead) have no place in any culture – African, Spanish, Catalan, European or other. They know no religion, Islamic or other, and their affiliation to darkness paints an unspectacular if not worrying trail of deriliction in today’s society.

Here are the some of my pictures of the day time stood still in Barcelona.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part One – Architecture

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three: La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art – Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

Visiting Barcelona: Part Five: Throwback time

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

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Visiting Barcelona: Part One – Architechture

Barcelona is always a city that inspires me. I’ve been to the Catalan capital several times now and endured everything from failed robberies in the Raval district to epic Monday nights out at Barcelona’s Apolo nightclub.

This time round, in the company of my family, my visit to Barcelona was a lot more sober. Yet, true to tradition, this city provided us with one remarkable twist of fate after another. Barcelona is also a city of contradictions – excessive tourism on the one hand and far-left protests against it on the other. Tourism in Barcelona is very much a double-edged sword – driving the local economy through massive annual earnings while eroding some of the city’s authenticity and heritage.

Barcelona is a city of contradictions – excessive tourism on the one hand and far-left protests against it on the other. Tourism in Barcelona is very much a double-edged sword – driving the local economy through massive annual earnings while eroding some of the city’s authenticity and heritage.

Similarly, in the midst of a decent city beach (La Barceloneta) that pulls many from far and wide, spectacular architechture and historic areas such as Barri Gòtic and Barri Gràcia, you will also find El Raval – a grimey quarter of town that is does has its charms but is defintely not the safest place to walk around in, particularly for women.

Over the coming blogposts, I will try to depict some of Barcelona’s conflicting facades through my imagery – covering  some of the well-known tourisy sites you may well have heard of, while also taking a look at some of the pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism.

While I was in Barcelona with my family, I was also unfortunately caught up in the van attack on Las Ramblas that left 15 people dead and wounded scores of innocent men, women and children. I will be covering this tragedy in separate post. My stance towards this episode is that I am humbled to be alive and grateful for the gift of life that we so often take for granted. But I am also angry and baffled – how can any one possibly contemplate an attack on the innocent of this nature and justify it in any way, religious or otherwise? The people that did this (most of whom got themselves shot dead) have no place in any culture – African, Spanish, Catalan, European or other. They know no religion and their affiliation to darkness paints an unspectacular if not worrying trail of

But I am also angry and baffled – how can any one possibly contemplate an attack on the innocent of this nature and justify it in any way, religious or otherwise? The people that did this (most of whom got themselves shot dead) have no place in any culture – African, Spanish, Catalan, European or other. They know no religion, Islamic or other and their affiliation to darkness paints an unspectacular if not worrying trail of deriliction in today’s society.

For now – here are the some of my pictures of Barcelona’s iconic architechture.

For more Barcelona posts, check out:

Visiting Barcelona: Part Two: No Tenim Por (We Are Not Afraid!) – surviving a terror attack

Visiting Barcelona: Part Three:  La Sagrada Famila- the quintessential never-ending work

Visiting Barcelona: Part Four: Bcn in street art: Mobile photography from the Catalan capital

 

Visiting Barcleona: Part Five: Throwback Time

Visiting Barcelona: Part Six: This is not a photo opportunity: The pitfalls of excessive mainstream tourism in the Catalan capital

Casa Milà

Provença, 261-265, 08008 (Off Passeig de Gràcia)

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Casa Batlló

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007

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Park Güell

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The Cityscape – as seen from Park Güell

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Putting things into perspective

Photography exhibitions (and more broadly, exhibitions in general) are more often than not, monologues that tend to present a view of the world that emanates from the perspective of their perfomers and the organisers.

There is, however, an ever-increasing ambition to involve audiences more in the performance dialogue – an intent if you like, to bridge the gap between performer and audience. Yet in a world as replete with diversity as ours, how does one go about doing so in practice?

Olympus’ Perspective Playground is one example of an exhibition that shatters the boundaries between performer and audience, so much so that I would scarcely call it an exhibition. Held in numerous European cities, Perspective Playground is an interactive experience that allows audiences to borrow an Olympus camera of their choice and wander through a series of art installations.

I’ll let the pictures that my girlfriend and I took at Copenhagen’s Perpective Playground edition speak for themselves. As a published photographer and performance designer, naturally, this was an environment I felt very inspired in. With this said, the installation is truly is a work of art that is accessible to all audiences, from beginners to world-class pros and everything in between.

See more picture from the #perspectiveplayground photo stream on Instagram here

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Ten things we learned at this year’s Roskilde Festival

Among our findings: a heavy police presence might have resulted in a fall in crime, rap might have displaced rock as the festival’s new darling, and the Orange Feeling is alive and kicking!

Roskilde Festival 2017 was rainy and rowdyRoskilde Festival 2017 was rainy and rowdy (Picture: Krists Luhaers // @Kristsll)

1 The police meant business

IMG_1569There was a palpable police presence at this year’s Roskilde Festival (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

This year’s Roskilde Festival had a heavy police presence in and around the festival. We saw sniffer dogs, police men with machine guns at the East entrance (a first) and patrol vehicles around the camping grounds.

2 The crime stats were lower

IMG_1589Less crimes were committed at this year’s festival than last year’s (Picture Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Six rape cases are being investigated, one more than last year’s figures. Some 130 reported thefts took place this year – significantly lower than in the last two editions of the festival, which both registered close to 800. A total 20 arrests were made this year – a number also significantly lower than in previous years. And sadly there was one death: a 24-year-old volunteer for Muskelsvindfonden who was discovered where he slept on Friday.

3 The future is nigh

IMG_1466Roskilde 2017 was a cashless affair, which was good news for payment methods such as mobile pay (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

For the first time ever, Roskilde Festival was a cash-free affair, with mobile pay and credit cards the official payment mode. In general, the festival had a look and feel that was more organised than it has been in previous years. Will we soon see the implementation of digital bracelet systems that allow for pay-by-scan options and other innovative solutions?

4 It’s all about timing

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The Weeknd’s show, while epic, got off to a late start (Picture © ANSPressSocietyNews / Mr Krobath

A number of shows started later than expected – remarkably later in the case of Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan. The announcements notifying Roskilde’s guests of the new start times were not always clear nor properly delivered.

READ MORE: Our top five Roskilde 2017 concerts in case you missed them

5 Rap is the new rock ‘n’ roll

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West Coast rapper Ice Cube was one of several hip-hop heavyweights to make his mark at Rf17 (Picture © Eva Rinaldi)

Rappers are the new rock stars (to quote Kanye West). Roskilde Festival has deep roots in rock music and has for many years been known as a rock festival. This year, the headlining names and the names creating the post-festival headlines were drawn from the more mainstream avenues of R ‘n’ B and rap – the latter of whom hogged the spotlight at Roskilde 2017.

READ MORE: Beyond Illimatic – Nas gives festival a lesson in hip-hop

6 Roskilde is (still) huge

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The crowd at The Weeknd’s concert at the Orange Stage was one of the largest ever (Photo © Krists Luhaers // @Kristsll)

Some 130,000 festival-goers, 32,000 volunteers, 180 concerts by acts from over 30 countries across nine stages. Does it sound like a party? It was! All of the profits will, as always, be donated to charity work around the world

7 The Art Zone was more accessible for all

IMG_0601-768x576Roskilde’s art zone was interactive, hazy and accessible (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Art should engage, provoke and inspire. This year’s art zone had a laid-back feel to it thanks to an outdoor lounge-esque area that housed plant life, sculptures, smoke screens and other installations by artists such as Rune Bosse, Regitze Karlsen and ThinkingHand. The art zone was easy to digest and comfortable to be in.

8 Come rain or shine, the party went on

IMG_0607-768x576Roskilde 2017 will be remembered as one of the wettest in many years (photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Friday’s perennial downpour saw the festival grounds doused in rain for most of the day and night. In fact, the rain started falling as early as The xx’s concert on Thursday night. Out came the wellies and waterproof garments, but even they couldn’t stop the rain from seeping in here and there and dampening the atmosphere – quite literally. A river of mud and a mess of broken camping gear, mackerel cans and memorabilia were left behind – the festival will end up incinerating 2,400 tonnes of it – but the party continued well into the night.

9 #Rfheroes – there were many

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Two of this year’s heroes at Roskilde Festival (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

Building on the success of last year’s event, in collaboration with the Tuborg Foundation, Roskilde Festival continued the #Rfheroes campaign – encouraging festival-goers to nominate their Roskilde heroes on Instagram. Five groups of heroes were consequently added to the Roskilde ‘Walk of fame’ brass plates. What is a hero I hear you ask? Essentially, one or more of the 130,000-strong crowd who’s walked the extra mile for the benefit of other festival-goers.

10 The Orange Feeling reigns supreme

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Rf17 was as colourful as ever as always (Photo Allan Kortbaek / Mutuk5)

So we had mixed feelings about the line-up, and there was the odd technical glitch here and there, but at the end of the day, Roskilde is still Roskilde, and befittingly ‘The Orange Feeling’ has not been compromised.

Roskilde may have diverted from its rock roots in an increasingly competitive local festival market in which booking the biggest names can be a tussle, but there can be no questions asked about the quality of the performances of those booked.

We sat on the shoulders of strangers and danced together under a darkened sky, drank warm coffee with lovers and friends and bonded through the power of music and art. This was our Orange Feeling and we suspect there are a few out there who may have similar sentiments.

Roskilde 2017: Not quite an avalanche – but close enough in the downpour

4 out of 6 stars. Original article written for The Copenhagen Post, available here.

Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid) Aussie sample kings, The Avalanches played a blend of music to suit all tastes (Photo Ercosid)

Australian sample kings The Avalanches rolled onto a drenched Apollo stage at Roskilde Festival facing a crowd that had endured one of the wettest days in modern memory at the annual event. Unfazed, the iconic Aussies, armed with the talents of Baltimore rap starlet Spank Rock and the moxie of vocalist Eliza Wolfgramm took to the stage backed by a witty, quirky, peculiar, lovable mash-up of sampled sounds.Not quite an avalanche
It was always going to be a hit or miss affair, as the torrential summer rain wept down, unrelenting against a backdrop of mud and wasted figures clad in wellies and waterproof garments. Under the circumstances, The Avalanches just about managed to get the evening’s festivities started with a show that began in lamentably inaccessible fashion (for all those for whom their music was unfamiliar). While seminal tunes such as ‘Frank Sinatra’ are indeed recognisable, their repetitive verses could arguably have been cut to get the fire burning sooner.

The show turned in the right direction, however, with a sparkling rendition of iconic cover track ‘Guns of Brixton’, which saw Wolfgramm swing a baseball bat in tandem with the music – a direct reference to the Brixton riots of the 1980s, epitomised with great effect by The Clash, who lay claim to the original track. This being Denmark in 2017, few recognised the symbolism in it, so its application was more peculiar than it was entertaining.

Perhaps The Avalanches recognised this (or their pre-planning did anyhow) – their tune selection thereafter yielded nothing but positive responses from a gumboot-clad crowd that kicked into gear with a bang. Synth delights such as ‘Subways’, the leftfield ‘Flight Tonight’ and thumping banger ‘The Radio’ definitely had the desired effect – The Avalanches owned the Apollo Stage (rain-strewn and haggled as it may have been).

What (sample) sorcery is this?
Theirs was a sampling act that spanned genres ranging from soul to hip-hop, all cooked together into one messy, blissful mash of curious tunes that got feet stompin’ and shone a welcome light onto a dark, drenched festival.

Yes, at times their profound samples made only sense to them and a handful of dedicated aficionados, but this is a band with two studio albums 16 years apart – an act whose versatility and eclecticism are a joy to behold. Bands such as Chinese Man and Hocus Pocus may have won younger audiences in recent years with their sample magic, but it is theses troubadours of the mould that leave spectators with something to think about long after the stomping, screaming and sing-alongs grind to a halt.

On Friday night they were seminal albeit patchy and inaccessible at parts. But who cares? They got a muddy party started and credit is due for this at the very least.