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Third finalist 2014

Czuko Williams

Hotel under the stars


The street is a hotel with no doors or windows, its roof cluttered with stars. Unbearably hot in the summertime and painfully icy in the wintertime, its dirt and filth are permanent fixtures. Unexpected visits from neighbors abound.

While the official figures herald 25,000 homeless people in Spain, NGOs wield less optimistic figures and in 2013 the number of persons suffering from severe or absolute housing exclusion was 40.000. Called vagrants or homeless, these people are much more than that. They are citizens who have remained on the sidelines of a full life due to a lack of opportunities. They are invisible citizens who don’t want to be news and who live in the world’s oldest and most famous yet least well-known hotel.

The Hotel under the Stars is a hotel where any of us may one day be guests. And the bill sometimes costs one’s life. It’s an invisible hotel for invisible people. A hotel with no bellboy or reception where the lifts never go up anywhere but only go down – directly to hell.


Czuko Williams is a freelance photographer and photojournalist working on news coverage and documentary projects in Spain, Europe and wherever necessary around the globe. He has been working for more than a decade under this name as a tribute to his great grandfather, a well-known Spanish journalist exiled in Mexico after the Spanish Civil War. After obtaining a doctorate in history, he studied photojournalism at the Blank Paper school in Madrid, and has been working as a photographer ever since.

Since 2012 he has been working as a freelance for several international news photography agencies such as Corbis, Demotix and Soon Image.

His work has been published in various international media including The Guardian, the Daily Mail, BBC International, Il Corriere della Sera, Bloomberg and Kristeligt-dagblad.