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Courtesy Chus Antón
Courtesy Chus Antón

Capturing vibrant streets and youth in Madrid

This photographer documents the vibrancy of youth living in turbulent political times

Documenting a city in the midst of turbulent political times isn’t easy, something photographer Chus Antón was well aware of when he set out to do just that. In this personal photo series – in collaboration with friends and fellow creatives Gregory Clavijo and Ahida Agirre – Antón documents the everyday lives of young people in Madrid today by taking to the streets, meeting with them and hanging out. Renowned for the city’s massive 2011 protests against fiscal austerity in the Puerta del Sol square, for the past few years, Madrid has been a city adrift in political turmoil. Like many major cities across Europe, instead of seeing a youth quashed by such crises, the Spanish capital has seen a flourishing of creativity. For Antón, Madrid is a place changing constantly, and capturing the dynamic nature of the city was important for him. “I love the city and I'm still fascinated by this ‘chaos’, this ‘schizophrenic’ place where people with opposite ideals and ethics live side by side. It's like a kaleidoscope,” he tells us.

Through this “kaleidoscope”, Antón’s quirky, colourful photographs of young madrileños document the vibrancy of youth living in a city stagnating politically. For a whole generation who’ve grown up under Europe’s financial crisis, expectations about politics and the economy are lower now than ever before and yet, according to Antón, young people in Madrid have not given up hope nor ceased to dream. “It seems like they have fewer expectations and prefer to focus more on their immediate environment. They feel free to do whatever they want to, without any boundaries and without being scared to be judged for what they do,” he explains. It is exactly this feeling of “living for the now” that translates from the photo series and serves as proof that the students, young creatives, and artists of Madrid are more vivacious and resilient now than ever before.

See more from Antón here