Photo essay – Every year up to 5 million tourists, mostly from Germany and the UK, spend their holidays in the Spanish city of Benidorm on the famed Costa Blanca. But COVID-19 has transformed the third most visited place in Spain and one of Europe’s top tourist destinations into a ghost town, now portrayed in Manuel Alvarez Diestro’s ‘Benidorm Empty Hotel’ series.
In residential buildings, balconies have gained importance for people in lockdown. But this is not the case for hotels. And Benidorm, which holds the highest number of skyscrapers per capita in the world, has become a deserted city defined by silent architectural grids. “The lack of human presence reveals buildings’ true architectural essence.” Says filmaker and photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro to Archipanic.
“I have been traveling since many years ago to Benidorm. This is one of those places that every time I visit I am perplexed by its verticality and concentration of buildings. I am a true supporter of its planning model and always I am very keen to portray the city from a new angle.” Says Manuel Alvarez Diestro.
“On this last occasion during COVID-19, I noticed Benidorm’s empty structures with its devastating effect while walking in the streets. When I saw the empty facades my decision on how to conduct the work came instantly! I left my parents on the beach and focused my time to identify the buildings all across the city and conduct close ups of the slabs with zoom lenses.”
In terms of composition, rather than showing the full structure relating to its surroundings, the photographer has chosen to focus on the facades alone with the empty balconies. “The façades become a canvas where clean geometric patterns flow and overtake any sign of humanity.”
All photos by Manuel Alvarez Diestro.
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