Sunday, October 31

Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, Rambla Catalunya 54, Barcelona

Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas, Rambla Catalunya 54, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Rambla Catalunya in Barcelona is splattered with architecture jewels of different styles and periods, most of them illustrious samples of Modernisme or Catalan Art Nouveau. In fact, there are more here (over 20) than along neighboring street Passeig de Gracia. One that I specially admire is Casa Dolors Calm by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas that dates back to 1903. The distinguishing wood and glass gallery and the floral motifs on the façade are worth mentioning. Here is an interesting link to many representative buildings in our city where a small pic shows a front view. As you see the original is rather sober in appearance so I decided to add some infrared color that highlighted the glass panes and the wooden framework of the gallery. Maybe you are interested in other works by this artist like: Casa Bruno Quadros or the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomf)

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Thursday, October 28

Colmado Quilez Barcelona: Vodka Bottles

Colmado Quilez Barcelona: Vodka Bottles [enlarge]

Vodka bottles of different brands beautifully arranged inside one of Colmado Quilez's window displays at Rambla Catalunya, 63, Barcelona. In fact, they have 110 varieties of vodka on sale in an adjacent store. I have chosen this grocery store image, first of all to show you the place described in the link above and second but not least, to make an imaginary toast with you, all those visitors that give Barcelona Photoblog a reason to exist, that compensate for all the last four years of hard work, of late night efforts, of roaming the streets in search of unusual sights, of candid shots, of street photographs, of Catalan art, of traditions and whatever subject that  brightens up your existence for a minute or two. Stats are just relative numbers and have to do with vanity, with competing with our peers in a way but they also have to do with self assurance and recognition. One or two days ago, Barcelona Photoblog reached the magic figure of 1.000.000 visits in four years and what better than sharing some virtual bottles of vodka with you. Here's to your health, cheers!

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Tuesday, October 26

Flamenco Colors: Dresses and Shoes

Flamenco Colors: Dresses and Shoes [enlarge]

The colors of flamenco are generally flashy and come in bright, happy combinations although sometimes they maybe more discrete (completely white with just a touch of another color for example). Polka dots (sp. lunares) are very common on these tight dresses that enhance body shape. The many flounces and specially the elegant shoes are worth mentioning as well as the shawl, the flowers on the hair and other adornments like earrings and bracelets. The flamenco dresses on this picture are not definitely the best on the market but I liked the line of shoes. I have to say that this is not a flamenco tablao where you hear the characteristic feet stomping (zapateado), as they were dancing what is known as Sevillanas. The image was captured in Torre Llobeta park, Nou Barris, Barcelona

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Sunday, October 24

Font de Canaletes in Las Ramblas: FC Barcelona's Totem

Font de Canaletes in Las Ramblas, Barcelona [enlarge]

I don't know in your city, but some Spanish soccer teams have this special place to celebrate victories, or better said, a meeting point for their fans, usually in open spaces around a fountain or a roundabout. In our collective memories that special object or place becomes some sort of ancestral totem, an emblem to tell adversaries that we have won and everybody should show respect. Of course, this sounds pretty boastful, but you know what I am talking about, in 2010 we still use the language of the tribe, we have an area for our rituals and we dance around our totem, chanting menacingly to scare away evil spirits and daunt our foes. FC Barcelona enthusiasts concentrate around Font de Canaletes a small modest all-in-one water fountain and lamp post with a lot of history in Las Ramblas, maybe not as opulent as their main rival's favorite place, you know who I am talking about, but a totem that talks of brave people that deserve a lot of respect. Long live FC Barcelona!

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Saturday, October 23

Casa Juncosa, by Salvador Viñals i Sabater, Rbla. Catalunya, 78, Barcelona

Casa Juncosa, Salvador Viñals i Sabater, Rbla. Catalunya, 78, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Casa Juncosa at Rambla Catalunya, 78 built by Catalan architect Salvador Viñals i Sabater in 1909 is one of those many buildings that locals tend to ignore (why do humans take things for granted immerse in their monotonous existence as they are? why do we lose that feeling of surprise?) but visitors evidently admire. Although Salvador Viñals (1847-1926) was considered a Classicist architect his work evolved towards Noucentisme and in certain cases you see slight touches of Modernisme here and there in his prolific catalog of buildings. Worth mentioning are Torre del Marques (1911) or Casa Oller (1891)

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Thursday, October 14

Marilyn Monroe Human Statue: The Backstage

Marilyn Monroe Human Statue, Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

If human statues in Barcelona could stand all over the city at will, then this guy impersonating Marilyn Monroe, would certainly have chosen the air vents on Passeig de Gracia sidewalk not very far from Las Ramblas. Instead of that, he must compete with a bunch of other statues. You have the impressive rivals that are really hard to beat and many others that are simply ridiculous, way too many recently. Because my friends, crisis sharpens your survival skills and the boat is already full of survivors. Local authorities have plans to limit statues, starting January next year, to just 30, selected by their quality and working in two shifts (15 in the morning and another 15 in the afternoon) that will perform in a restricted area down Las Ramblas away from Plaça Catalunya, exactly between Pla de la Boqueria and Arc del Teatre square. Artists will be asked to send a CV and imitations of animals or characters carrying weapons will be banned. Let's see how it all ends as some attempts of regulation were made in the past with no success. Hey, I almost forgot Marilyn. You know what, I prefer to capture those moments when living statues are in the intimacy of the backstage sessions, when you can see the real people, lost in their own thoughts, maybe wondering what the heck they are doing on a pedestal all day without twitching a muscle. As I always say, please help the artist behind the statue. Don't pretend they are part of Las Ramblas decoration.

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Monday, October 11

Art Nouveau Treasures: Casa Mila aka La Pedrera, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Mila aka La Pedrera, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

We had seen the façade, we had the balconies, the door, the roof but we forgot to show you Casa Mila (La Pedrera) from inside. Come to think of it, there is more from this mind-blowing building by Gaudi to be portrayed in Barcelona Photoblog, I am sure. It takes some trouble to show the shadows properly without blowing up the skies so I spent some time playing with the settings in my Nikon, and still it needed some editing in CS4. Anyway I've seen much better versions of this photo on the web. To learn more: La Pedrera and Casa Milá facts and history. To really appreciate it from all angles: Mila House Flickr slideshow

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Wednesday, October 6

Pope Benedict XVI Visiting Barcelona in November, 2010

Detail of religious mosaic at Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona [enlarge]

Maybe some of you still don't know that Pope Benedict XVI will stop in Barcelona next November during his two-day stay in Spain. Yes, His Eminence is visiting us to consecrate Sagrada Familia. As I've said many times, I'm not a religious man although I believe there is something or so says my Facebook profile. What that field of energy, entity, dimension, realm, plasma, astral world could be is beyond my imagination and I tend to look at it from the heart aka soul. I studied some philosophy, and believe me, it was kind of materialistic and agnostic. If I try to explain the world according to those teachings, everything is so damn logical! Besides, I believe in science, in the big bang theory, I accept that the universe is not finite with the same innocent faith that many others accept God, that is, I cannot explain it but I accept it. I also accept Darwin and oppose 'new' creationist theories, specially some conservative people behind them! But,hey, in spite of all that, it would be so great that there is life after death, that you could go to a parallel place somehow. As you grow older it is not strange that you seek some spirituality to find answers, to get some peace of mind. My spirituality as you see is far from the main stream of religion. In fact, it is nothing but a tiny affluent, but it works for me and so, I live in communion with this universe and beyond. If faith in the unknown makes you happy in this life no matter how absurd its nature is then let's welcome mysticism but beware of blind faith, beware of institutions, of powers, cause that is a creation of man. Oh, I almost forgot, yes, the Pope is visiting our city. Did you know that besides Sagrada Familia, the visit will include a center called Obra Benefico Social del Nen de Deu and that is about five blocks away from my house! According to a Spanish cardinal 500,000 people will receive Pope Benedict, 30,000 chairs will be placed outside the cathedral and 6,500 will be allowed inside the church...It is not hard to calculate that if Sagrada Familia will be crowded then the scenario in my small Nou Barris quarter is going to be chaotic and apocalyptic. By the way, the image today is a detail of one of the mosaics on the façade of Sant Pau Hospital near Gaudi's famous cathedral.

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Friday, October 1

Montserrat Mountain Detail in Black and White

Montserrat mountain in black and white [enlarge]

I've tried to rescue a bad image, originally taken in color that I thought deserved an opportunity just for you to contemplate the impressive eroded monoliths, the capricious carvings mother nature has left on its walls, the convergence of lines coming from every angle that altogether constitute what is known as Montserrat mountain. Maybe you ought to check these posts: Montserrat, the Jagged Magic Mountain and Montserrat, The Serrated Mountain.

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