Society

Barcelona's immigrant mirage

Article published on March 7, 2007
From the magazine
Article published on March 7, 2007
A Spanish-speaking immigrant between immigrants - in Catalan Barcelona

In the last five years, Barcelona has seen its 3% of immigrants rise to whole neighbourhoods of 17-20%, such as in the Raval district, which is right next to the famous Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona. (Click on smaller photos to enlarge)

Humble existence in the middle of a district where the majority of immigrants are from Pakistan, India and the Philippines

Hairdressing salons, locksmiths, warehouses, butchers, bars

Corners with snatches of anecdotes and fragments of life exist right in the tourist heart of the city

Surrounded by Christian Gods, with the sound of the television, click-clack of the scissors, omnipresent plants and foreign tongues

The barber just about spoke Spanish

I gestured to him which haircut I wanted, picking an image from a magazine

A man entered, combed his hair, then returned to chat with the barber. Some hairdressing salons work like social centres. Long hours, with people coming and going but all the while talking, smoking and drinking tea

A mysterious customer who did not speak, just waited silently for his turn

I have seen him around several times; he sells beers in the Ramblas

The future generation of this small-time business; a young son observes his father at work

Photos by Sigrid Jorgensen & Cristóbal Schal