2012 & 2017
The above image is probably one of my all time favorite photos I've taken. I don't know if I audibly gasp when I come across such gems, but it's definitely an internal exhilaration. I love the tones, the glimpse of nature amongst the urbanity, the wabi sabi of the running paint and that tiny blue geometric window up on the top right. I compose my images in the viewfinder rather than in the computer except for minor cropping. The two images below of the woman on the balcony are another example of internal glee that can't be shown in the moment physically. I noticed her above me and got a shot and conveniently took another direct shot of the graffiti door without her realizing she may be in the shot. The candid nature of this shows the true nature of life in this city. These are moments in time that can never be replicated.
I had a dream of going to Spain that stemmed from taking Spanish for four years in high school. When I started learning more about design history in graduate school, I fell in love with the movements of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau. This desire to see Art Nouveau in the ‘wild’ put Barcelona high on my wish list of places to travel. I followed through on that dream in 2012 by participating in a week long creativity workshop that was so rewarding in it’s content, but also that it allowed me to explore this amazing city for a week. The workshop exercises encouraged the discovery.
In 2017, I as able to return to this place that I fell in love with to attend a weekend design conference – OFFF Barcelona. Returning to a familiar place is always fun for me. It helps me in my research and inquiry of memory and identity with place. Lucy Lippard explains the 7 strata of place – stranger, visitor, tourist, local, from away, native, indigenous - in her book “Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society.” I found it exhilarating to be back on the streets and know my way around, but still get turned around in my exploring of the city. Getting lost is still possible when you aren’t a local or native. Getting lost helps me discover aspects of the city that I wouldn’t explore if I wasn’t paying attention. What I found most compelling on this trip in April of 2017 is that during the daily siesta the businesses are closed and you see a different world - all the doors are closed and covered in graffiti or customized murals.
It’s a street gallery!
And as someone who also believes in happy accidents proven by special moments in time, being in a specific place at a specific time you can capture moments with photography that will never be the same before or after. The light, the surroundings, the positioning of the people for example. I often take pictures of the graffiti and I do this by cropping on the images. Again these are ephemeral, they can change daily due to the public nature of the form. The beauty I find gives me goosebumps every time I see the images as it literally takes me back to that moment in my own memory.