Whilst I still have a shadow…


I have  had a wonderful first day in Madrid,

I spent most of it wandering around with a good friend who is teaching English here. The  light is the type that makes you want to take photographs. Strong and beautiful.

There’s a lot to photograph: the style and character of the city and its residents! The guys I’m staying with were asking why I was taking photographs of people. It’s true, some find photographing strangers on the street odd. I can see why… but I’ve not fully out-grown my curiosity and I don’t intend to. I found a ticket booth with the person inside more intriguing than the building they were selling tickets for. But I took one of the building, because it was rather nice.

I started the day in the suburb of Pueblo Nuevo: a different environment with no tourists. It was challenging as I had to take that step and figure out the local reaction to a tall foreign girl with a camera around her neck and a glint in her eye. But they were…are great! I think you will get the curious stares that some people cast wherever you are in the world. But as long as you smile and are friendly, I find it’s okay. I have found in the past, some people are quite flattered to have their picture taken and have even asked! Just depends on their perspective I guess.

Within an hour of leaving the flat and trying not to get lost (my sense of direction isn’t the best)  I got into a ‘conversation’ with two old guys who only spoke Spanish. They were asking me why I took photographs and joking around. I said ‘interesse personale’ and thought to give them mycard to explain, also so they knew my name. They were very cheerful and wished me well. That made me smile, I love those kind of unexpected moments. And it’s funny not being able to express yourself in the normal way, but it’s also a nice chance to realise that essentially people are all the same.

I was given good advice to go to the Caixa Forum museum and I am so glad I did!

I saw ‘A Floating World’ exhibition by Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894 -1986)

His black and white images are stunning, he was all about catching the moment and I wrote down a couple of things he believed and thought to share them.

‘Everything disappears. Happiness and youth, light and beauty are fleeting truths. Photography is a way to hold on to that.’

‘Since my youth, I have been plagued by a kind of illness. All of the things that fascinate me disappear without my being able to hold onto them sufficiently in my memory.’

He also took a portait of his own shadow, commenting underneath;

‘Whilst I still have a shadow.’

He was so aware of the fleeting nature of life and its pleasures and it dawned on me more than it ever has before…this is the reason why I like street photography. It can be a small reflection of yourself now, in the reality that surrounds you and a way to hold on to it. With the advantage of teaching you (reminding you) to be more aware of those things that fascinate and make you smile perhaps.


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1 comment
  1. Jet said:

    Really enjoyed reading your blog Jen.So true that you never grow old on a photograph. Wish it was so in real life. Spanish lessons next lol. This pic of the woman looks like she`s falling down the steps. Look forward to your next blog xxxx

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