Barcelona Photoblog: December 2010

December 28, 2010

Pedestrian Crossing, Barcelona

Pedestrian Crosswalk, Barcelona [enlarge]

Pedestrian crossing, downtown Barcelona. Sign on pavement warning about traffic accidents in the city. Take care on the street and step with the right foot into 2011. Best wishes and good luck for all.

December 24, 2010

Barcelona Photoblog Wishes you Merry Christmas 2010

Christmas scene - Village Detail [enlarge]

With this detail of a small scale holy scene captured some years ago at Pedralbes monastery in Barcelona, I want to wish you a "warm" Merry Christmas in the company of your beloved family and friends.

December 23, 2010

Romanian Gipsy Woman Scrutinized

Romanian Gipsy Woman, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona [enlarge]

Romanian gypsy woman begging for money on Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona. Two guys on modernist bench scrutinize her with wary look, murmuring something as she goes. Black guy wearing suit in the back seems like a body guard, waiting for someone. People on the left coming out of the shadows in their daily routine during lunch break. Different stories that connect for an instant. All in all, a quite common Barcelona scene.

December 21, 2010

Man Walking Past Coliseum Cinema, Gran Via, Barcelona

Man Walking Past Coliseum Cinema, Gran Via, Barcelona [enlarge]

Man walking by Coliseum movie theater at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 595 in Barcelona, one of the last single screen cinemas in the city with capacity for an audience of 1689 people. Conceived by architect Francisco de Paula Nebot in 1923 it has been run by BalaƱa movie chain since 1958. It used to be Paramount Pictures' showcase cinema during its golden years. The building is basically a theater at present with several plays on schedule. Check official site here (Spanish)

December 20, 2010

Portraying Beggars in Photography

Portraying Beggars in Photography [enlarge]

Portraying beggars in our images, shooting at them pointblank, is tough. One should always be aware that our mission is to denounce and not to profit on people's misfortune. No matter how good your intentions are, it will always be hard and there will be a thin line between photo journalism and privacy invasion, between social report and unnecessary overexposure of the weak. Who are we to judge? No one.Will it help grow awareness? Certainly, yes. The camera is just a silent witness, a mere reflection of an instant in our collective reality as captured by one individual. There are so many moments out there that need to be recorded for our collective mind to be more self conscious!

December 17, 2010

Girl Smoking On The Corner, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona

Girl Smoking On The Corner, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona [enlarge]

In the winter, at noon, the sun in Barcelona is not that high and the light can be as good as that you have by the end of any summer afternoon. Watching people from the shadows of less illuminated streets and trying to capture their sunbathed bodies, their backlit silhouettes with the camera is fascinating for photography enthusiasts. Today, an anonymous girl, surrounded by the smoke of her own cigarette on some Passeig de Gracia corner. Maybe you would like to check my Flickr photoset on street photography

December 14, 2010

Balloon Over Houses, Vic, Catalonia

Balloon Over Houses, Vic, Catalonia [enlarge]

Everything here is authentic, the houses surrounding a square in Vic, the balloon promoting a travel agency...except for the skies who were in fact quite gray and dull. I had to add some graduated blue effect (nik Color Efex Pro 2.0), some pink near the balloon and still they don't look very convincing. I do like the roofs and the brief appearance of the basket between the walls though.

Casa Mila: Face-Like Roof Figure

Casa Mila aka La Pedrera: Face-Like Roof Chimney [enlarge]

Resuming Casa Mila posts, this is another astonishing figure by Gaudi that reminds me of those enigmatic monolithic statues on Easter island (Isla de Pascua) except for the fact that this one is hollow and is one of La Pedrera's roof chimneys. Admiring this beauty will cost you just 11€ (Audio guide takes an extra 4€) with 10% discount in case you arrive on the tourist bus.

December 12, 2010

Man Coming Out of Subway

Man Coming Out of Barcelona Subway [enlarge]

And now for something completely different, a man coming out of Diagonal subway station in Barcelona, hands in his pockets, lost in his own thoughts perhaps. This shot shouldn't have seen the light. You know, sometimes you insist on a particular image, you spend a lot of time trying to edit it and then when you are about to post it, something is just not right and there you go again applying some more effects but the picture was wrong from the very beginning and that in photography is not very good practice. But I kind of like that lonely man coming out silently on the subway escalators and voila, this is it.

December 10, 2010

Medieval Crafts: Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle

Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle Medieval Fair, Vic, Catalonia, Spain

Watching spinners and weavers at their craft in medieval times must have been quite amusing I guess. Having the opportunity to enjoy such an old trade nowadays, performed with very similar skills handed down from one generation to the other, in the same scenario, is priceless. As I promised, here is picture taken in Vic during the Medieval Fair celebrated last week. It is not the first time Barcelona Photoblog features medieval crafts so I recommend you check the archives. Maybe you want to learn something today, well, here's a How-to Spin Yarn on a Drop Spindle video. In case you are quite interested, check Technology in the Medieval Age

December 09, 2010

La Pedrera: The Gaudinian Mastery of Geometry

Roof detail of Casa Mila - La Pedrera by Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi, a genius of architecture and superlative artist dominated geometry like few others.

In modern times he would certainly be working in the video game industry as a designer creating 3D virtual worlds with due respect to the obvious differences of course.

This is the roof of renown Casa Mila, which is, together with Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia, one of the best samples of Gaudinian creative and geometry aware imagination.

In black and white the lines are more evident as in some sort of charcoal sketch.

December 07, 2010

Kid Portrait: Spontaneity

Kid Portrait: Spontaneity [enlarge]

There was this long bench and the daughter of some friends was running towards my camera every time I pointed at her. It was like some kind of game for her in which she was supposed to shout and improvise some sort of attack. She came running like hell and I had to shoot fast and take the lens away from her. There was no posing, no strategy because we were playing games and we were accomplices. Complicity with the subject generates spontaneity and that is gold in kids photography, specially if it is a portrait.

December 06, 2010

Rabbit and Pumpkins, Medieval Fair, Vic (Osona), Catalonia

Rabbit and Pumpkins [enlarge]

Today I visited the Medieval Fair or Market that is held every year in Vic, capital of Osona. I highly recommend this event to learn about medieval trades or crafts, get in contact with Catalan history and try local food which is an excellent sample of our cuisine. If you are on a diet please refrain from attending this fair. Further ahead I will talk more since this rabbit and pumpkins image is not very illustrative.

December 04, 2010

Romanians in Barcelona: Finding People Behind Stereotypes

Romanian woman and her son, Barcelona [enlarge]

Behind every immigrant there is a story and not precisely that of a successful individual that found a good job, started a family and managed to be a respected citizen with access to all civil rights. There are immigrants that 'integrate' themselves (awful term to refer to 'you should not bite the hand that feeds you' or 'when in Rome do as the Romans do') and there are others who 'choose' not to do so (or better said, they will never be accepted by 'respectful' citizens, either local or ex-immigrant). Of course, this a delicate topic and there is gray in between black and white. Standing on the 'wrong' sidewalk, whether it was your choice (hard to believe), because you lost the last train, entered a bad streak of luck or simply were born on the other side, will entitle you to receive great doses of rejection and a journey to limbo, the realm of absolute oblivion. And being on the dark side means you will stop believing in man's justice, in fairness, in humanity, in the love of others, in rules not because you chose to but because they sent you there. And why do I say all this, well because there are stereotypes in our society for all that looks different and does not 'integrate' and no country is safe except the 'pure respectful citizens' (not quite clear who belongs and who doesn't yet). There are Latin, Black, Chinese, Moorish, Pakistani, Eastern Europe people and they are all very well classified in our rotten minds in a scale of preference. Nobody talks about the person behind the stereotype, they are rarely given the opportunity to 'adapt themselves' and are treated differently, with a biased criteria. The moment we stop categorizing individuals we will be much better people, or should I say, persons. The image today, a Romanian woman and her child. And this is a link to other Romanians living in Barcelona. What are you going to do, misjudge them or try to find people behind the sterotype?

December 03, 2010

Christmas Abstraction

Christmas Abstraction [enlarge]

Please don't try to figure out what this is. Well, it used to be a floral adornment at the entrance of some Barcelona hotel to welcome this cold month of December, the magic time of the year but judging by the way I caught it, it is hard to tell. And that's precisely what it is, an abstraction, out of focus red fruity balls and glittering golden branches against the blue sky and the hotel marquee. Have a nice December everyone!

December 01, 2010

Seidel and Naumann Sewing Machine in Barcelona Shop

Seidel and Naumann Sewing Machine in Barcelona Shop [enlarge]

Who has not seen one of those everlasting sewing machines still working like brand new decorating grandma's house? I still remember a veteran Singer parked somewhere at Mom's bedroom. And what about those marble top tables with sewing machine legs. Anyway, here is an authentic beauty, a vintage Seidel and Naumann model. Judging by the decals it seems to be Serial No. 2107675 sold through the company's London depot although the one in the other site's picture has only one spool pin. Perhaps an expert could help with the exact model. I liked the shop display, the illustration hanging on the wall, the combination of black and white, the shadows from the trees nearby and the whole sober decoration with a vintage sewing machine as the main subject. I thought to myself you would like to see something different today.
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