Cecilia Díaz Betz

Taking pictures with a Smartphone is the starting point of PAIN. We’re referring to a self-edited photo-book by Majorcan photographer Toni Amengual. Technically, it was born by chance, after he’d bumped into an anonymous lady that shocked him. However, he wasn’t able to take a picture of her because he wasn’t carrying his camera. He finally did it with his smartphone, and that’s how it all started. Conceptually, he had been mulling over the idea of showing a psychologically ruined country. Back in 2010, he started portraying the desolate, sad and worried faces of old people living in Madrid, Barcelona or Majorca.

PAIN features 120 images taken with his Smartphone between 2010 and 2012 that depict the disorientation, unstructured and the impotence they felt during those years and until today. A country in crisis, fucked up, abandoned by young people. Snapshots of a dark, almost black mood where the absence of young people turns reality into a throbbing pain.

Snapshots of a dark mood almost black generalized, where the absence of youth due to brain drain, turns reality into a stabbing pain

As a photographic project, PAIN is intense, but the limited edition photo-book acquires an extraordinary dimension and value. The layout deftly plays with that generalized anger, resulting in a magisterial piece of work. Made by Amengual’s accomplices, Astrid Stavro and Pablo Martín, from the Atlas studio, they deserve an ovation. They knew how to interpret the project from their perspective, putting more emphasis in Amengual’s clear objective: to make people think actively. The title takes the S from Spain, leaving the English word Pain to express what’s inside. The final book format is presented two years later, 2014, when politicians and mass media are devoted to convey an optimistic message of recovery. In spite of these messages, the images of the suffering population in the streets presented in the book are still as current as when they were taken. The book is composed by 120 photographs bound in 240 pages and folded in the Japanese way, thus to get to them the pages have to be tore up.

Get a copy of PAIN here.