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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Capital Fluxus at CPH Dox Awards Ceremony

Pics from Capital Fluxus’ performance at CPH Dox’s Awards Ceremony – held at Charlottenborg Palace, Copenhagen.

As Copenhagen Dox, the city’s largest documentary film festival made its return after a one and a half year hiatus, Capital Fluxus marked their musical versatility with a performance at the festival’s awards ceremony.

Who are Capital Fluxus?

“Capital Fluxus are well on their way to becoming one of Europe’s most interesting hip hop acts – and well, honestly, they already are.” “They respect the basics of hip hop and urban music, and additionally try to shake things up by tossing some actual art into the mix.”

Vice Magazine, Denmark – Read full review here.

For Bitchslap Magazine’s low-down on Capital Fluxus’ first major tune, read here

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And here’s a their latest video:

CAPITAL FLUXUS – NOL & SOL from Jacob Schill on Vimeo.

The Kenyan Coast, December 2016

This is a journey back to the country I grew up in — this time round in the company of my girlfriend. I find myself guilty, each and every single day, of forgetting just how beautiful a country it was and still is.

Most people relate to Kenya through the glossy images and videos that travel boards market — or through the stories of children in need of food and a penny or two of your donations during prime time broadcasting. Both scenarios present an exaggerated view of a nation of so many facades.

Our journey begins in Mombasa — Kenya’s second city, which is a loud, polluted mess. Many of its hotels of yesteryear are now a distant flicker of the glorious tourism heyday and now stand crumbling — behemoths under the African sun.

But this is Africa though (TIA), so for every crumbling hotel, there is a fighting soul forking out a living for themselves — making ends meet. There is hope, everywhere — a force that is as constant as the lingering heat and the blue of the ocean.

 

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I am no fan of Mombassa but tuk-tuk rides can be fun. This one was

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Mombassa’s Nyali beach is not exactly paradise lost but some of it can be appealing it its own way

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Here, you will find overpriced, half- starved camels that suffer in the hot sun to cure your selfie fetishes. I need not add that these mighty beasts are not native to these parts

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Nonetheless, perched on their back, as in the Lawrence of Arabia days – you will find one tourist after another who thinks it’s cool to plod along the beach in tow

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If you want something a bit more real – wander north to Kilifi – 65 kilometres north of Mombassa. This was taken from the road on the way to my godmother’s house as we ventured inland, past the glittering Kilifi creek

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The real magic starts when you venture south though – to Diani and further on, Galu beach- 33 kilometers  south of Mombassa

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Daybreak  in these parts is an overture, masterfully woven – the water was still enough to paint on that particular morning

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Rupturing the peace ever so slightly, a fishing boat coasted gently along, leaving weak ripples in its wake

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Noon, and the overhead sky never looked more divine. There is something pacifying in the shade of a coconut tree

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Nothing beats the water though

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I am humbled, time and again by these mystical creatures – masters of the seas

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We found this sandbank in the middle of the Ocean, a barrier between the reef and the shore that rears its sandy head at low-tide

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Come dawn, back at shore and the distant clouds are aflame once again

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Clumsy creatures descend from the heavens, strangers in the early night whose arrival on the beach is marked by a short burst of rushing air followed by a thud and the occasional scream.

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Dusk turns symphonic just before the curtain call. I will miss these emphatic colours and the coruscating waters of the Indian Ocean. I will miss the smiling people – my people and their ways under the sun