Barcelona & Catalunya

Around the Block in Barcelona (Our new home!)

Window on the Dawn. Parc del Forum, Barcelona, 2015
Window on the Dawn. Parc del Forum, Barcelona, 2015

 

‘Tis true–we will be moving to Barcelona sometime this summer/fall! Our new apartment awaits us on Carrer Provença in the L’Esquerra de l’Eixample area of downtown Barcelona!

Collons!

I am certainly more of an outdoor, smaller town, guy than a city guy, so this transition will be interesting. Thankfully, there is plenty to do and see within a few hours (and often much closer) of Barcelona: rock climbing, hiking, white water, via ferratas, snorkeling and scuba, sunning on the beach, quaint villages, interesting landscapes of all kinds for the photographer, and so on.

Out of curiosity, though, I thought I would take a very close gander at our new neighborhood in l’Eixample. To that end, I took a little exploratory stroll, starting at the entrance to our apartment building, at Calle Provenza 162, and walked around the block, noting in my little book the different businesses that were to be found. Normally, going around the block would take you about 5-7 minutes, but I took about 30 minutes with all the note-scribbling and such.

The quantity and variety of businesses turned out to be waaay more extensive than I expected. If you have never lived in a cosmopolitan city, it will likely surprise you as well.

Moving clockwise around the block, here is everything I encountered… Click to continue as the list is looong!

Ghost Women in Barcelona

My eye keeps finding more images for my Ghost Women series. This time, on the walls along the streets and alleyways of Barcelona. (See more of this portfolio, along with an explanation, under the Galleries tab above.)

In this photograph of some urban graffiti and poster advert detritus, I was seeing two couples–but their relationships are quite different. Perhaps one couple (upper) has managed to find accommodation and contentedness while the other (lower) is dealing with resentment, fear, perhaps even abuse?

Ghost Women, #51. Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #51 (Dos Parejas, Un Contraste). Barcelona, 2017

 

Can you see the face of self-destruction in this next photograph? Torn and disfigured…disappearing…perhaps due to unspeakable childhood traumas…the disintegrating effects of an addiction, maybe…

Ghost Women, #52 (Autodestruction). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #52 (Disappearing Self). Barcelona, 2017

 

Apparently comfortable, happy and healthy in their own skins in this urban space–what are their 3000 personal stories?

Ghost Women, #53 (What is their story?). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #53 (What is their story?). Barcelona, 2017

 

All I want is respect…dignity…you know, all those standard human rights we all ought to enjoy…

Ghost Women, #55 (Deserving of Respect). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #55 (Deserving of Respect). Barcelona, 2017

 

High voltage 69…authorized personnel only…

Ghost Women #56 (High Tension 69). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women #56 (High Tension 69). Barcelona, 2017

 

In a bar…on the street…a furtive glance. But who is he, really? Perhaps just a mere phantom of her own personal opera?

Ghost Women, #57 (A Furtive Glance). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #57 (A Furtive Glance). Barcelona, 2017

 

Is she in pursuit of a life-saving superhero? Ah, but superheroes are often distracted, with other, grander (!?), things on their minds. Or maybe they just want to go out alone on the balcony for a pensive smoke now and then…

Ghost Women, #58 (In Pursuit of a Superhero). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #58 (In Pursuit of a Superhero). Barcelona, 2017

 

And, finally, we have Leonardo’s reflective Mona Lisa selling Louis Vuitton handbags. I wonder what da Vinci would think of that? Would Lisa del Giocondo approve? And who were the Madmen/women who came up with this mad marketing campaign, anyway?

Ghost Women, #59 (Mona Lisa Marketing). Barcelona, 2017
Ghost Women, #59 (Mona Lisa Marketing). Barcelona, 2017

An Evening Beach Photo Walk, in Monochrome

Here is a baker’s dozen from a photo stroll yesterday afternoon-evening, all captured with the handy little Sony RX100iv. From the Metro stop Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica, we walked the coastal section from the big mesh-metal fish to Hotel Vela (W Hotel).

The idea of the “seeing” exercise was to look for street/beach/urban scenes that would work in B&W.

Do they?

 

Is it about to roll off onto the ground? Does it bother you? Hope so!

Ball and Layers. Barcelona, 2015
Ball and Layers. Barcelona, 2015

 

My title, not his. It looked like he was simply out to enjoy the water, But, I wonder if it didn’t cross his mind, however fleetingly.

Contemplating Suicide. Barcelona, 2015
Contemplating Suicide. Barcelona, 2015

 

In the sand, until the next wave.

Signs of Friday. Barcelona, 2015
Signs of Friday. Barcelona, 2015

 

Catching another photographer in action, hunting for that unique perspective.

Dedicated Photographer. Barcelona, 2015
Dedicated Photographer. Barcelona, 2015

 

A diagonal-vertical motif.

Monoliths, Small and Large. Barcelona, 2015
Monoliths, Small and Large. Barcelona, 2015

 

Kids at play.

Dreaming of High Flight. Barcelona, 2015
Dreaming of High Flight. Barcelona, 2015

 

A pause in the action on the sand court…a sailboat in the tranquil distance.

Volley to the Center. Barcelona, 2015
Volley to the Center. Barcelona, 2015

 

Another image with the in-between theme.

Sailboat and Airliner In-Between. Barcelona, 2015
Sailboat and Airliner In-Between. Barcelona, 2015

 

Rooms starting at 300 Euros, going all the way up to over 10,000 Euros (around $13,000) for a night in the “Extreme Suite“…all yours at the “Hotel Vela“.

Hotel W. Barcelona, 2015
Hotel W. Barcelona, 2015

 

Contrast of curved architecture with the traditional.

Hotel W and Olympic Towers. Barcelona, 2015
Hotel W and Olympic Towers. Barcelona, 2015

 

Playing around with two possible sets of leading lines.

Two Friends. Barcelona, 2015
Two Friends. Barcelona, 2015

 

Symmetry and tranquility.

The Contemplative Cyclist. Barcelona, 2015
The Contemplative Cyclist. Barcelona, 2015

 

Experimentation.

Self-Portrait in Aluminum. Barcelona, 2015
Self-Portrait in Aluminum. Barcelona, 2015

Another Mediterranean Sunrise

Sunrise on the Pier. Barcelona, 2015
Sunrise on the Pier (with ghosts). Barcelona, 2015

 

This espigón, or pier, just west of the main Port Olímpic area in Barcelona is another of my frequented sunrise spots. You would think that once you “shoot an area” you are done with it–not a few landscape photographers are under this mistaken impression.

Instead, I am always surprised by something new each time I visit a familiar site.

Yes, it’s the same pier, the same coastline, the same beaches, the same city and buildings at my back, but everything is still different.

Here is a short list of the things that always change–and therefore why it isn’t a bad idea to go back to places you have “already done”:

–the weather in general

–the clouds

–the Moon’s phase

–the constellations and planets before sunrise

–the wave action and the sea’s surface

–the human action on the pier

–unusual ships coming and going

–my particular mood

–my way of seeing and what I pay attention to

–the current state of my technical expertise

–the camera and lenses I might be carrying

–and, of course, the light–it is always different!

More images from this morning:

Some disco colors at twilight…

Disco Dawn. Barcelona, 2015
Disco Dawn. Barcelona, 2015

 

The Moon and Venus in Scorpio, and an airliner on final approach to the Barcelona airport…

Venus, Crescent Moon, Plane, and Boats. Barcelona, 2015
Venus, Crescent Moon, Plane, and Ships on the Horizon. Barcelona, 2015

 

Pre-dawn is a good time to get those 30-second exposures, neutral density filter not required…

Hidden Pyramids. Barcelona, 2015
Hidden Pyramids. Barcelona, 2015

 

A moving ship on the far horizon is dragging out a light trail just right of the rightmost marker…

Orange and Blue with Pyramid. Barcelona, 2015
Orange and Blue with Pyramid. Barcelona, 2015

 

It’s hard to tell on this tiny online version, but the brighter white graffiti on the far pier says “Zombie”, thus the title…

Zombie Fisherman. Barcelona, 2015
Zombie Fisherman. Barcelona, 2015

 

Another for the stock photo library…

Sail and Sun. Barcelona, 2015
Sail and Sun. Barcelona, 2015

Portrait of a Barcelona Master Baker

Daniel, Panadería, #10. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Panadería, #10. Barcelona, 2015

 

In some ways this is sort of a working vacation here in Barcelona. My very special spousal unit and I are working on a photography project for a family member who will soon open a healthy food café in the city.

The photo project? Images of the food providers for the new café and close-up images of the individual food products themselves.

This is something very new for us, and slightly out of our comfort zone, which I suppose is a good thing, right? Perhaps at some point I will post some of those pictures to this blog, along with some lessons learned.

In the meantime, the rest o’ this particular story…

As part of the project, a few days ago we visited the panadería, Panes Creativos de Daniel Jordà, where many of the bread products, muffins, rolls, etc. will come from for the new restaurant. Ah, the glorious aroma of lightly browned and golden-crisp baguettes fresh from the oven! And all the different breads (of every shape, size, and recipe) were about as close to grandma’s home baked stuff as you can get–all heavily infused with much love and attention by Daniel, the master baker and owner.

I naturally worked the photos we needed for the project (as above, for example), but I was struck by how wonderful Daniel was as a portrait subject. His passion and pride for his work glittered in his eyes and he wore an aura of peace about him. It would be wonderful to have an environmental portrait session with just him.

And, of course, if you are looking for pretty much the best bread products you can get in Barcelona, look no farther than his modest bakery.

 

It’s all in the eyes. A couple of the big round loaves of his famous bread are in the background…

Daniel, Panadería, #14. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Panadería, #14. Barcelona, 2015

 

And a more messiah-like expression…

Daniel, Retrato. Barcelona, 2015
Daniel, Retrato. Barcelona, 2015

Tourism in Barcelona

Nice Outfit! Barcelona Tourists, 2015
Nice Outfit! Barcelona Tourists, 2015

 

Barcelona is a wonderful city in many ways, from its history dating back to Roman times (and even earlier), to its lively art, music, and theater scene, to its architecture, and yes, to its uninhibited night life. And lots of folks around the globe have figured that out.

So, today, as you walk down the crowded La Rambla, or as you aggressively shoulder your way in to buy some sweets in La Boqueria market, you will find yourself mixing it up with thousands of other tourists, many just recently disgorged from a monster cruise ship in the nearby port. In the minority in many areas are the local Catalans, strolling about or out to pick up a few things for the evening meal.

Thus the growing debate.

How do you bring in those tempting tourist dollars yet preserve something of the authentic, original Barcelona (whatever that might be) for those who actually live, work, and raise children here? How do you maintain a pleasant environment for long-time and settled Barcelona residents yet keep the place from turning into a noisy and shallow Disneyland, selling trinkets and T-shirts by day, and morphing into a loud, obnoxious, party-til-you-puke, throw-the-beer-cans-on-the-beach, disco destination by night?

Those tourist dollars are indeed wonderful–but at what cost? What might be the right balance? And then, how to achieve that balance?

 

Stop the Noise! Near a Barcelona tourist area, 2015
Stop the Noise! Near a Barcelona tourist area, 2015

Motto o’ the Day: Live!

LIVE! Barcelona, 2015
LIVE! Barcelona, 2015

 

Better yet: a motto for one’s life as opposed to just for the day.

And, yes, it would work better still if it were in the command form: Viva!

Maybe, then, what this is actually saying is, “She lives.” Perhaps the woman is a secret agent? A robot? An extraterrestrial? A Gucci model?

That’s the confusion you get, I guess, when you try to build a composition from a bus stop poster ad.

Congratulations to Sol and Emilio!

Bride and Groom. Barcelona, 2015
Bride and Groom. Barcelona, 2015

 

Yep, it is my wedding photo. Nope, I still don’t do weddings.

Mostly, anyway. This was sort of a family exception and only to produce a small photo book as a gift.

Luckily this couple was smart enough to hire a real, professional, wedding photographer (two, actually) to capture the critical moments and poses. Hopefully, you will do the same for your wedding–and don’t just go with the $300 photog you found on Craig’s List either!

Congrats, Emilio and Sol!