Hurray, it’s summer! Berlin feels like it’s skipped spring and went straight to shorts-and-sunscreen-weather. And what a difference that vitamin D makes! The sun got me itching to change everything! Which would explain why my apartment is an absolute mess of stuff I want to get rid of and new wooden bits that are waiting to be built. Yes, in proper DIY style…
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I a) love burgers and b) had an absolute blast in Barcelona when I went there earlier this year. I didn’t expect (but secretly hoped of course) to be back any time soon, but it so happened that we were picking up my Dad from the El Prat airport and then went on a holiday to Southern France from there. We had a few hours left, so I recommended to climb up Park Güell (not fun at 36°C but ever so worth it!), where we bumped into the same musicians that I was photographing back in April. They’re probably playing there every day but it still put the ‘been there, rocked that’ smile on my face. But then we went over to the really important stuff: A burger at Kiosko, one that – after the obligatory Caroline, you even burn rice, why should we trust you with our dinner? everyone loved. Thanks Barcelona for being such a beautiful detour!
The best plan to have when visiting a city that is almost too popular and has been photographed a couple billion times is to leave your guide books at home. That is as true for Paris as it is for the area around the Parc Güell, Barcelona. Allowing you to get lost gives you the right amount of freedom, a curiosity to discover beauty in places that aren’t on your map and to dive right into local oddities. Especially from a photography point of view, that is what makes traveling so compelling and unpredictable.
While this is a collection of photos from all corners of the Barcelona – most of whom I found by accident -, I want to draw the attention to two exhibitions that I managed to visit despite the heat on the streets and the resulting urge to spend every spare second on the beach. The art gallery Arts Santa Monica is just off the city’s main shopping street La Rambla and always has a wide range of different photo exhibitions. The one I chose was called From Here On – Post-Photography in the Age of the Internet and the Mobile Telephone and although experimental art is always worthwhile and exciting, I found the installation rather depressing. Pieces were based on Google Map images, on TV shows and all the digital buzz that takes away the experimental energy and turns it into something really superficial and futuristic. Hey photography, please don’t ever becomes a medium whose content comes from cyberspace and digital sources only. Thanks.
The other, slightly more enjoyable exhibition was a cosy show by the very talented Silvia Conde who took some photos at flea markets in Berlin last summer. You can take a look at the brilliant and quirky photos here. The exhibition was in front a huge co-working space and had a bunch of creatives as background asset. So – photography is only the beginning of something that can only be crazily exciting.
Barcelona‘s youth is the embodiment of coolness and surfer swag. Therefore, skateboards and rollerskates are being used instead of bikes or other boring devices, beer is preferably consumed in parks (throughout the day) and kids are throwing each other into the waves instead of wasting time in front of World of Warcraft.
I shot these photos at the Parc Güell up north, the beach area around Barceloneta, a colorful and laid-back Mercat de la Boqueria, the romantic and energising Parque de la Ciudadela and at the Catalan version of the Arc de Triomf.
By now I’ve probably bored everyone to death with those endless Barcelona posts. But firstly, I just loved it and secondly, the good news is I nearly ran out of new photos and will then move back to local London material that also happens to be fairly sunny (for a change).
Without any further ado – here’s one of my first “videos” that’s basically just an accumulation of moving images that don’t really fit together. What an intriguing announcement, I bet you can’t wait to click the Play button now. Well, the idea was to capture Barcelona‘s ease, especially in the evenings, and to give you a little taster of how amazing this summer will be. I’m not a video geek yet, so forgive the rather average editing/lightning/colour schemes. We’ll get there eventually. Now get in the mood for some waves, skaters and laughter. And let me know what you think about the attempt… This hugely addictive song is called “Little Numbers” by BOY.
The last four weeks from my phone’s perspective were freezing cold (Cambridge), extremely easy and sunny (Barcelona), very inspring (Oh Comely and Wonderland Magazine), caffeine-infused (Ginger and White and The Vintage Emporium), full of careless and possibly embarassing dancing (XOYO and The Blues Kitchen) and enriched by some new impressions of London (The RAF Museum in Hendon and some lake really far East whose name I’ve forgotten, but it was the most refreshing and beautiful road trip.)
The last four weeks from my perspective felt very long and draining, very laptop- and deadline-intensive but as I’m writing this, I can feel the sun tickle my skin and in another few weeks’ time, all the
important student problems will have faded away and we can hopefully all lounge around in parks and eat ice cream 24/7! You can follow those and other adventures on here.
I’ve never been a big fan of concept stores. They usually all look the same, regardless of the city you are in: Bare walls, a few racks of clothes from Urban Outfitters and some very original books, preferably called “The 25 coolest Polaroids.” Nope, thanks. So I initially wasn’t hooked when my friend dragged me into the first store in Barcelona and waited impatiently (what would I do without those grand social skills?) for her to finish browsing those extremely “unique” pieces. Well, that was until I opened my eyes properly.
But oh dear, these stores gave “concept” a whole new meaning: Handmade clothes, beautifully designed notebooks, and self-printed dish towels all over the place. One store felt like the cool version of a greenhouse, another one possibly contained the owner’s grandparents’ entire collection of antique nonsense. Beautiful! To fill your hungry minds with some inspiration, here are some names and photos.
The ones I stumbled upon were in Gracia (that neighbourhood apparently really impressed me): Matusalen on Carrer Ramon y Cajal, 29, La A on Carrer Torrent de l’Olla and Magnesia, opposite Lukumas, which I recommended in this post. My highlight though was watching (not to be mistaken with stalking) a colourful sketching and knitting class from outside… So if nothing else, today we’ve learned when to use the word unique without the quotation marks, right!?