Barcelona Photoblog: Human Statues: Make-Up Time

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Human Statues: Make-Up Time

Human statue putting some make-up on her face [enlarge]

When you are trapped in the living stream of Las Ramblas and you are shoved along the way from one end to another you probably don't have time to reason out the evidence that human statues are not part of the urban furniture. They are not part of a permanent exhibition either. No one comes and unloads the statues from a truck to gently place them on their improvised pedestals early in the morning. They are anonymous Barcelona citizens, made of flesh and bones, permanent residents or temporary visitors who rely on such unstable and tedious activity to make a living. They have their assigned areas, their timetable, their official permit. To attain that wonderful final look we are all familiar with they sometimes need more than an hour to be ready. It is not strange to see them arrive partly dressed to save time. After all the preparation which may include wearing tons of make-up and fitting into impossible costumes it may happen that the weather suddenly plays tricks on them and spoils the performance. Of course no insurance company will compensate for the cancellation of the show nor will the city hall sympathy with their cause. Las Ramblas certainly wouldn't be that great without the living statues so any help to pay for such painful and respectable effort is always more than welcome. Of course I don't tip them if I capture them before the acting begins as in this image but when they are on "stage" I try not to sneak between tourists to steal a picture from them. A good smiling face, nicely caught in connivance with the camera after you have expressed your gratitude can really make the difference.


  1. Wonderfull street scene ... excellent work!

  2. Carlos, your picture is great and I enjoyed the video clip! In San Fransisco, Ca, there are living statues like these. However, your Barcelona seems to have more creative ones and they don't seem as likely to jump out at you!

  3. Anonymous11:51 PM

    Wow, really nice picture!! Almost like a painting, very good!

    Like your work and your blog, keep doing this!

  4. -Thanks so much Gert.
    -Thanks Shadows. Thanks for coming.
    -Nice meeting you Jens. Mein Deutsch ist nicht gut aber ich verstehe ein wenig :)

  5. A wonderful perspective of these people. It captures the care she is taking in readying for the performance. Seeing the video afterward was most interesting. I think these people must add to the ambiance of the city.

  6. I love this photo. Beautiful colours, beautifully captured, and quite a different angle of the human statues. Simply beautiful.

  7. Wonderful photo,interesting video.
    Art is very personal...unlike the video narrator, I do not feel sad for these people. They are expressing themselves, something many people are incapable of. Thank You Carlos for sharing.


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