One of the pleasures of new places is stumbling upon and then exploring some person, place or thing that you've barely (if ever) heard of before. A few days ago, I was rambling down Las Ramblas (the famously touristy boulevard in Barcelona) and saw small crowds snapping photos of what at first I thought were weird statues but soon realized were "living statues" -- stock-still street performers painted and costumed to look like famous characters (both real and fictitious).
Turns out, of course, that "living statues" are a world-wide phenomenon with festivals, celebrities (Google "Amanda Palmer living statue") and even an annual "World Championship" in Arnhem, Netherlands. In Barcelona, there were so many "living statues" (and so many enthralled spectators with picked pockets) that the city council established regulations in 2010 and requires candidates to compete for limited slots by submitting a portfolio and auditioning for officials.
As you probably guessed, I started a "living statues" project. To be more precise, I've started a "faces of living statues" project. Although the costumes are stunning, it's the painted faces that grab my attention. Here's four of my favorites: