This week's blog post is running quite late with an evening release. This is due to me photographing images of the decorations that embellish the streets (carrers) of my local barri, Gràcia, during the week-long Festa Major.
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The Festa Major de Gràcia has been an annual happening for perhaps around 200 years, though there have been stretches of time where it was not celebrated. Now it is one of the best festas in Barcelona & for over twenty years has officially enjoyed a prime week-long chunk of August in which to celebrate all things Catalan, including music, dance, theatre, film & food. There are countless bands playing live music of all kinds throughout the days & nights on a multitude of stages scattered around the carrers & plaças, tables of local folks lining the streets feasting on paella & other local traditional dishes & droves of participants flooding through the decorated streets...
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...& that is what I focussed on for this weeks blog post...
...curiosities & pretty things...
Every year there is a contest between carrers to see which group can create the finest, cleverest & most imaginative decorations. Each carrer group decides on a theme & spends up to about two months prior to the festa (though much of the creating can be seen happening on the closed-off carrers over a period of a couple of weeks on the lead up to the festa) creating their display. This year there were twenty carrers participating.
The general trend is to take advantage of the narrow streets to create a tunnel effect for the experience of the wandering audience, with lights & decorations overhead & adorning of the shop fronts, creating a spacially immersive environment. Often the carrers are controlled by attendants to allow foot traffic through in one direction only, which makes sense when there are thousands of people milling about, often in partially drunken confusion.
With Barcelona being a coastal city there were quite a few marine style themes, including pirates & submarinal life. Other themes included outer space movie characters, women's history & politics, flora, roller-disco, Game of Thrones (never watched it fortunately) & Lord of the Rings.
Tomorrow is the final night of the festa major when the Correfoc (fire run) is held. It just so happens that the Correfoc was the theme of my first ever blog post, a year & a week ago. Back then I wasn't prepared for the event as it unfolded on the carrers before my surprised eyes, but tomorrow I intend to go all out on capturing the dangerous fiery extravaganza more fully as it wends it's way through the carrers of Gràcia, culminating in a mad frenzy of fire spitting fury. Hopefully, if successful, I will feature it for next week's blog post.
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I am a freelance photographer specialising in performance arts.
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