All photographs taken by David Oliete. Used with permission.
Stop by the town of Tarragona on your way through Spain’s Catalonia region in October every two years and you’ll find yourself a witness to an incredible showcase of man’s collective strength and endurance as part of the very important Catalan tradition (not to mention, the most important Human Tower Competition in the world), Concurs de Castells.
In Concurs de Castells, which literally means “competition of castles”, thousands of participants – including men, women, and children – compete in 32 teams or colles to successfully form (and dismantle) towers of up to 10 human levels, towers that supposedly symbolize strength, balance, courage, and common sense.
Vignettes of the exciting competition was captured by award-winning photographer and Tarragona local David Oliete in a series of incredible photographs that documented not only the shaping of the towers, made up of up to 500 strong each, but also the mesmerizing aesthetics of it – from the symmetrical lines the participants form to the colors of their team uniforms.
Undoubtedly, the construction of each tower looks chaotic when witnessed from the ground level. Oliete, however, offers us a vantage point rarely seen by many. Taking the photographs atop a high perch, Oliete captured the towers from the bird’s eye view, giving spectators a quiet glimpse of systematic and harmonious routines that take to form, stabilize, and hold the human castles.