By Marcelo del Pozo
My photo story on Spain’s Austerity Squatters is a somewhat humble tribute to women.
When I entered the occupied building, I found a group of women with insurmountable courage and strength; women struggling for dignity; women fighting for their families to not live on the street after their eviction; women, often unemployed, without economic resources.
The first night I spent with them, without asking me beforehand, they gave me a plate of ratatouille. Thanking them, my first reaction was to tell them that I was not hungry, but the reality was different – I was starving. I found it uncomfortable to eat a meal in a place where food and resources were scarce, but I thought it would do more harm to reject this ration, that was offered to me with much affection and pride. I ate and it was extremely tasty.
I experienced great human moments, when their eyes shone with the shy hint of tears. I loved seeing their mouths draw into a smile as they asked me if I believed that the occupation would be a success. I said yes, this looks great.
Little by little, I began engaging with them. I felt honored when they confessed that I was the only journalist allowed to move freely around the building. They said they felt very confident with me. I think that’s one of the best rewards that a photographer can get, confidence.