The Parallel Society

Made in 2013 with the support of IdeasTap Photographic Award

The financial crisis that began in 2008 when the subprime bubble burst in the US and had repercussions across the world, hit Spain especially hard. The country’s unsustainable property-led growth of the previous decade halted as a result of the global situation, and, shortly after 2008, the country found itself in deep economic turmoil, becoming among the most polarised countries in Europe. Over a fifth of the population was below the poverty line, unemployment stood at 27 per cent, and there were, on average, 500 evictions a day. The situation was even worse for the younger generation who faced unemployment rates of around 50 per cent; as a result, many left the country.

With the aim of documenting the realities behind the hard-hitting statistics, I went to Murcia, in southeastern Spain, one of the regions that had seen a considerable reduction in the number of building-related jobs. It was also a place where the combination of unemployment, government cuts, and a lack of resources caused the finances of a legion of households to go into freefall. Entire pre-planned neighbourhoods that developers had expected to sell quickly were left abandoned, while citizens from all backgrounds struggled to cope with the risk of imminent eviction.