In the last years of the 1950s, Joan Colom spent every weekend exploring the "bas-fonds" of Barcelona, the Raval neighborhood known today as the Barrio Chino. Interest both in remaining discreet and in breaking with the aesthetic traditions of his elders caused him to begin working without aiming his camera; only while printing did he frame each image. On the street and in the darkroom, he saw himself as an impassioned witness to social theater and his work as a search for "images that touch me." His results were praised early on by personalities such as Ramon Massats and Josep Maria Casademont, who wrote in 1961, "with Joan Colom, we are entering a new phase of our history of photography." These classic images entwine the aesthetic of the 50s Modernist avant garde with the dark, pessimistic tradition of Franco's Spain; today, the image of the Barrio Chino is rooted in Colom's work.