Barcelona Photoblog: Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona [Much Better Enlarged]
© All Rights Reserved

Coincidence or not, the cardboard boxes promoting IBM think centre series, grabbed my attention after I took this snapshot next to a bus stop in front of Plaça Catalunya in the very centre of Barcelona. This homeless guy is sleeping but on seeing the sign I can't help imagining that he is thinking, thinking hard, thinking twice about his non-existent future while the rest of the world is thinking about consumer products like the ones that used to be in that box for example. Maybe you would like to see the image in black and white.

Recommended: Now that I raised the issue of homeless people, I suggest you don't miss wonderful Stoneth's photos at Flickr.


  1. Carlos, this photo and certainly all of Stoneth's photos (I didn't view all of them) are pretty disturbing. What's the answer?

  2. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Oh my god - that photo is so - can't think of the expression I want - I mean "in your face" (but not with the pun). I wouldn't dare to take it. Well sure it will provoke much discussion.

  3. una de les cares que ningú vol mirar de Barcelona, tothom pasa desviant la mirada...m'alegro de que tu no.

  4. I should warn everybody that in the link I suggest there are mostly pictures of homeless people, so they are not the touristic kind. There is one which I found specially disturbing, and is that of a drug addict acting as such which I reckon is shocking. The rest of the work is what it is, a marvelous report on site of the stark reality, the naked truth of our society. Regarding photographic technique I think they are stunning too.
    Said all that:
    Kate, I agree with you. The answer for me is we have to deal with the problem, everybody, every single level of society. We have to change the picture. Thanks for your early comment, your opinion and the open question.
    Thanks Sally. In my case I was passing by, I liked the light on his face and tried to get closer. I am happy with the picture but sad at the same time. It is a strange feeling. And I think stoneth, the artist in the link must have felt the same. I do hope this raises an issue and there is some debate on the picture.

  5. Parece ke hoy nos pusimos de acuerdo compañero, si puedes chekea mi blog de Trujillo.

    Un abrazo

  6. Thanks Jing I like your philosophy and I fully agree with you from my own internal, spiritual point of view. Of course we can learn to live a simple life satisfied with what we have and do what is within our reach. A man alone cannot change all this but together we may alter things up. What if this was our own life, should we have to simply accept the fact that those who pass us by staring desdainfully are luckier. Thanks for expressing your thoughts here and contributing in the debate.

  7. Si Irredento, es bueno que coincidamos en estos temas. Mientras más se nos escuche mejor. Precisamente esa es una de las pequeñas contribuciones que cada uno de nosotros puede hacer, la denuncia social.

  8. Morgia estic molt agraït per aquestes paraules de suport. Hi ha bastant hipocresia amb aquest tema a la nostra ciutat i per aixó també es bo que es ventili una mica.

  9. Hi Carlos, thanks for your ideas for the new HKDP, I really appreciate it...I will have to spend some time to figure out PHP and CSS before I touch the template...:-)

  10. You are welcome lisi. It looks wonderful as it is right now. CSS I undestand a little but PHP gives me the jitters.-)

  11. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Your photo (especially the black and white) and Stoneth's photos on flickr are very powerful. I'm not sure I would be able to take these photos. Logically, I know that acknowledging poverty is one of the steps in helping address the problem. Adding a face to poverty helps society acknowledge that there is a problem. So logically sharing such photos in good and meaningful. So why do I feel it is an invasion of privacy? I will have to think on this and maybe ask some experts their thoughts.

  12. Anonymous7:04 PM

    PS: Yesterday, I read an article on the subject of poverty. The article suggested that there is not universal agreement on the cause of the what works to help. However, one practical suggestion which the article put forth was that the lack of public transportation is the number one cause of poverty. Also, the article disputed that addiction is the cause but instead suggested that in most cases addiction is the result of poverty ... I'm not sure if I agree with what was suggested in the article. What I do know is that seeing your photo has caused me to spend more time thinking about the subject than I would have expended had you not posted your photo ... thank you.

  13. Anonymous10:27 PM

    the photos are very impressive...I am glad Carlos that you were brave enough to post/link these not-touristic photos. I had been working with homeless people for more then two years as social worker and I know very well these eyes. a way..effect of the streetlife...but I also can see in these eyes how deeply they are hurt...and the story how they "decided" to quit from the game in away.....

  14. Anonymous11:53 PM

    Yes, another face of humanity. And what's hopeful is the fact that we are all so disturbed by it. Let's never cede to nonchalance...
    Denton, I also tend to disagree with the article you reference. From my life experiences, the poverty I've witnessed was caused by addiction (drugs or alcohol), mental condition or lack of basic education.

  15. Thank you for this thoughtful and provocative post. Tomorrow in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving and this photo is a nice companion to the celebration. We can be thankful that we have the basics in life - food, clothes, and shelter, while some do not.

  16. Anonymous8:52 AM

    how did you get so close for your shot?

    anyway, its interesting to know one of the reasons for poverty/homeless is transportation as in Denton's comments. How does that fit into the equation?
    I read some chose to be homeless despite education etc .it is something that need to solve individually.

  17. rostros sin rastros...
    el lado de la ciudad tan cercano y cotidiano que a veces ya nos acostumbramos a verlos y a omitirlos tambien.

    buena reflexión y muy buena pic


  18. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Kris, the reasoning behind the idea that much of poverty is caused by the lack of public transportation is the theory that people will work if they can get to where the work is at. Like I said, I'm not sure if I agree. However, I do think that we as humans will work and improve our situation when it is possible.

  19. Anonymous1:11 AM

    Carlos your photo is both tragic and absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

    Stoneth's photos are truly exceptional. PEOPLE, DON'T LEAVE THIS PLACE WITHOUT SEEING THEM.

    The portraits are not only magnificent, they are also very human. All these homeless people look at the photographer with trust : he knows their name, a little bit about their history, a relationship has been established. That's a nice change.

  20. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Looks like I am a day late. How refreshing that such a subject can be discussed rationally unlike another daily photo blog that spiraled into ridicule and name-calling! There seems to be a lot of homelessness photos on DP lately.

    There was once a person that spent about 6 months roaming the streets, getting to know the homeless and learning their individual stories. It was a fascinating article to read.

    Based on the people he got to know, there were several recurring reasons that they were on the street. In no particular order: Drug addicts, Mental impairment, Women with children and even Choice. read that correctly, a few (the least of the them) are there by choice. The main reasons seem to be the other three.

    I don't the answer to the problem. Except that I do know of several cases in the U.S. where people with mental problems are released from mental hospitals recklessly! It is appalling! Lack of funds is a big please think of that when the Fed cuts social programs (b/c this is a big one) and talks of tax cuts! The mentally ill, especially, should be cared for and not on the streets!

  21. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Wow. I just spent almost an hour looking at those photographs. Unbelieveable how many there are. I couldn't begin to express all the thoughts that are going through my would take too much space.

  22. Anonymous2:54 AM

    "...while the rest of the world is thinking about consumer products like the ones that used to be in that box for example."

    get over yourself.

  23. Get over yourself...that's funny. I took this photograph just because I meant poverty is something we should be concerned about. Your remark really hurts cause it is not the case here. If you really think so why do you go anonymous. Why don't you stand for what you say.

  24. Anonymous3:13 PM

    As a wise man once said.. I believe his name was.. a certain thom yorke.. nobody can be 100% pure in this life, it's just not possible, for so many reasons. Some of us do the best we can, some of us just don't go excessively into consumerism but can't help it because of the pressures on us by society or our upbringing.

    To call out someone trying to raise awareness and perhaps some recognition along the way, annoynamously, is not only cowardly but pointless. You and your opinion will be forgotten very quickly.

    Good photo mate.. if you don't mind I'd really like to use it in my research for an A-level project... try to let me know if that's ok if you get this.

  25. I do agree that it looks pointless and in many cases cowardly. Sometimes it is better not to call for awareness as it sounds phoney. One thing I know, if we all think this way, what do we have left? We all want to express our opinion, and is up to people whether they believe it or not, silence is not the answer. About the A-project, my pictures are for personal use. If you are not going to get any profit and is not related to consumerism in any way then no problem, mate.


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