One Frame 01: La Colmena | Diego Leon Bethencourt

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

New One Frame edition every Monday

'La Colmena' by Diego Leon Bethencourt

The title of this image is in reference to the 1951 novel ‘La Colmena’ (The Hive) by Spanish writer, Camilo Jose Cela. In essence the novel deals with the busy and hard-working life of its many protagonists in the Madrid after the war, and the connection between all of them. The novel ends with a suspense and unclear finish, adding to the despair of the lives of the characters.

Personally, this image evokes a feeling of uneasiness, isolation and the contrast between wide, open, and tight spaces. This is made clear by the single building in the centre of the frame, which resembles a beehive in appearance - full of life, complex, a single unit. The leading lines cover the bottom half of the frame, removing unwanted elements and centring the view over the hive, after which we see the single character that seems to be looking up - perhaps their home.

I took this image on one of my last afternoons visiting Madrid and is a contrast to the rest of my set which consisted of a more classic type of architectural photography that is normally associated with Spain. However, while not pretty, this is also part of the city. It’s people who live here at these unnatural buildings that rise along the side of the river, a product of a massive and uncontrolled growth in the 60s and a housing market bubble.

About Diego


Diego Leon Bethencourt (b. 1999 Madrid, Spain) is a Spanish Photographer and Microbiology student based in Cork, Ireland. Diego's work often explores feelings of nostalgia and reflections of his traditional Spanish upbringing. Diego is also the photography curator for Disobedient.

Instagram: @diegoakatdl /