A woman sunbathes in the Spanish town of Benidorm, a beach haven for many working-class tourists and pensioners from northern Europe. "Scenes of Radioactive Life" is Maria Moldes' two-year photographic ode to Benidorm, highlighting the extravagance of the place and its characters. "It is an endless source of images," she said.
A woman smokes a cigarette on the beach.
"I use the word 'radioactive' to give it an air of science fiction," Moldes said. "It adds a surreal, ironic tone to the reality I am observing. The burning sun, the people ... it all made me think of radioactivity."
Moldes did not stage the photographs nor ask any of her subjects to pose. In fact, she says, no one knew they were being photographed. "This is a type of photography that cannot be posed. This is street photography," she said.
A woman uses protective eyewear while tanning.
Many photos might seem unflattering to the common viewer raised on a diet of thin models and images of wealth. "These people don't have the prototype of beauty we are used to seeing," Moldes said. "But you end up liking them. Some women I found stunningly beautiful. You end up seeing beauty in places you wouldn't."
A woman applies sunscreen to her leg.
A woman is buried in the sand by her granddaughter. Moldes said her photos are also a commentary on the aging population of Europe and how some of them reinvent themselves at the end of their lives.
"We have a very end-of-life atmosphere here. ... But many are very alive with their exaggerated hairdos, enjoying what is left," Moldes said.