Barcelona Photoblog: Human Statues: Make-Up Time

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.

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