Kapital, Madrid, 2004

Photos : Adrian WM Jones

Photo Documentary : Kapital 2004

I lived in Spain for around 4 years in total, it was not by design, I actually had plans and dreams of living in Italy at the time but this is where I ended up for various reasons. I knew the coast well from family holidays as a kid but had never experienced true Spanish life. It's a country of great balance, life is almost equally experienced by all in many ways and aspects of living which may seem unusual or unattainable in other countries are quite normal here. Owning real estate in the city, and at least one home in the a country village or coastal setting is not unusual, and in contrary to the much prevailed misinterpretation the Spanish actually work very hard and long hours most of the year.. until the summer kicks in. Depending on your industry you can work longer hours during the winter months to allow for shorter work schedules in the summer months. Madrid during the months of July and August is essentially closed to unplanned business, it's burning heat sends natives flocking to their parents original homes in the villages 'los pueblos' and the fiesta season kicks in just before Easter and lasts through September. At any point during those months you will find rotating festivals across the country, from every village no matter how small to every neighborhood of every city , some religious, some just for the fun of it. Spain knows how to party like no other country, fiestas typically run the duration of a weekend, it's not unusual for a village of 500 to host a show suitable for  10,000 along with bull runs and fights which correct or not are a deep part of their culture. Say what you like, each country has it's own ugly traditions, Spain's happens to be at the forefront of it's symbolic image that was exported decades ago and the association still stands. Within the country you will find divided opinion across generations on this subject and this is true in many of it's dimensions. Religion is still very prominent among the elderly but you'll be hard pushed to find many of their children who genuinely believe in the same God as their parents. Bull fights are televised still, mostly watch by elderly gentlemen, but you'll find an equal number of dread locked  youth who oppose it. Affection, passionate kissing, rib breaking hugs litter the streets under the watchful and deeply respected eye of a  more conservative elderly generation who were raised under the stiff hand of Franco, the list goes on. But in all these contradictions the is very little abrasion, the Spanish have great patience and  are generally very tolerant and accepting of others, you only have to look at how they allow Brits and Germans to establish communities in some of their most beautiful landscapes to understand this. Rather than react angrily they are more inclined to sympathise along the lines of 'Spain is beautiful, who wouldn't want to live here'. Spain has been a major part of my life and taught me many things about how to be as a person, where England can leave you coarse with misplaced aggression, Spain will round off your corners and ask you why you are so bothered about it all. It also taught me that you really need a deep understanding to capture a culture in photographs. I was 26-27 when I took these images, I know the language, the people the culture, but I didn't know how to carve it out in pictures so well, experiencing something and living something are not the same when it comes to documentary photography.

Adrian WM Jones

Adrian Jones is a Connecticut based architectural photographer & documentary photographer. With over 20 years in the field he has worked in many areas of the film and photography industry and now uses his vast experience to focus on photographing architecture for architects and personal documentary projects.

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