Organic Lines

Here is another simple image from inside Barcelona’s Casa Batlló. I love these irregular “organic” lines of the walls and molding that are found throughout the house, it’s as if the only rule they followed was there should be no right angles. Also, if you look closely you’ll notice the walls have a mosaic pattern reminiscent of scales.

Organic Lines
The organic lines of the design and architecture of Casa Batlló

This is more than a house, it’s a study in the blending of art and design to create a habitat. Imagine if all homes were built as works of art, it would be a much more interesting world don’t you think?

More architecture images from the gallery

Batlló Light Well

This is another perspective of the central light well at Casa Batlló in Barcelona.  Casa Batlló is a grand house designed by Antoni Gaudí which is now designated a world heritage site. It’s hard to describe the artistry of this house which brings to mind organic themes from somewhere deep in the human psyche. Gaudi pushed beyond the limits accepted design over a hundred years ago and has become a source of inspiration for generations of architects.

Batlló Light Well
Casa Batlló Light Well in Barcelona                       prints

The genius of Gaudi must be experienced first hand, as for me it was an awakening of sorts. His designs resonate with me in a surprising way; I never thought I could be so moved by a house. He expanded the horizons of architecture and design a century ago and yet I suspect his work is still centuries ahead of its time.

more european images from the blog

Inspiration in whatever form is like a window into another world that can be glimpsed briefly, like hints of another world through a brief parting of the veil. Gaudi’s architecture, at least for me, is a premonition of a future that may one day exist, if not already in another world.

So these are some of the words I clumsily cobble together to describe my own experience and impressions of Antoni Gaudi’s work. Next time they might be completely different, but for this moment, they are for me a fleeting glimpse into another world.

more architecture photography from the gallery

Barcelona Sunrise

Barcelona Sunrise
Barcelona Sunrise from the top of the the Grand Hotel Central                               Purchase a fine art print

This sunrise view is from the roof of the Grand Hotel Central Barcelona. I found the hotel somewhat last minute on hotels.com. What caught my eye was the rooftop bar and infinity pool. It’s an amazing hotel located in the gothic quarter of the city within walking distance of nearly everything. For me the best part is this rooftop view in the morning. Later in the evening we would sit here with a plate of Tapas and glass of Sangria watching the lights of the city. Not a bad way to spend a few days.

More urban exploration from the gallery

I took this with the camera just above the water so that it takes up half of the frame. I’m not sure what that big building is, though everyone else in Barcelona surely does. That’s because there are only a few tall buildings in the city. If I recall this pool was on the 10th floor of the hotel. At that height you can see over most of the rooftops of Barcelona. So much of the population of the central city live in apartment buildings that are no higher than about eight floors. Of course that’s a lot of living space regardless.

When I walked around this part of town I was impressed by the eclectic combination of apartments mixed with gothic cathedrals mixed with shops mixed with dabs modern architecture here and there. Everything is close together in neighborhoods that feel distinctly local and reflect values of the residents. At least that was my impression looking at it as an outsider.

Bastaix

Bastaix
Bastaix restaurant in the Ribera section of Barcelona                                       Check out prints here…

Here is another shot from the evening I walked around in the Ribera district of Barcelona. This is in front of a small restaurant called Bastiax which is just opposite the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. I didn’t eat here but I made a mental note to come back and try it out. I just looked it up on Google and the ratings are pretty good, here’s the link: https://goo.gl/Hp8qdH

More photos from my urban exploration collection

In fact I began touring the area with Google maps and there are a lot of highly rated eateries around here. That was my impression when I was here but this just confirms that I’m not the only one. I may have to pop back over for a few days to hang around this area and get another infusion of the Barcelona atmosphere soon.

This was late on a Thursday night and it seems the area really gets going after about 10pm. There are ancient street lights and torches which together with the narrow streets gives the place a feel you can only find in Europe. There were people walking, musicians playing and generally just a good feeling permeated the whole area. That could just have been me but I think it too was felt by everyone around.

Casa Batlló Stairwell

Casa Batlló Stairwell
Casa Batlló Stairwell in Barcelona                                                                Obtain print

This is the Casa Batlló Stairwell in Barcelona. This house is a work of priceless design by the famed architect and designer Antoni Gaudi. I took this while climbing the stairs to the roof. It’s a narrow courtyard of sorts with the house surrounding this central core. As I recall there were about five flights to the roof so on my way up I had plenty of opportunities to stop and gawk at the design.

This is a very big house, I could live comfortably on just one floor, even less. But if I did own the whole place I’d be sending texts to the kitchen to order meals, that would save a bunch of trips up and down the stairs. Then of course I’d need a Stair-master to get some exercise. I never said I was brilliant, if it was my house I really would have more money than brains.

I took a ton of pictures throughout the house, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Actually everyone takes pictures inside. There’s a nautical theme going on and it reminds me of a ship, or maybe something out of Jules Vern novel. When I Google other photos of this a few of them have an under water effect. Perhaps that was intended. In any case, here is a link to a search of stairwell photos from the house on Google: https://goo.gl/JW1jqj

Here are some more images from Barcelona: https://justenoughfocus.smugmug.com/keyword/barcelona/

Late Night in Barcelona

Late Night in Barcelona
Late Night in Barcelona in Black and White                           Purchase a museum quality print

A late night in Barcelona was spent walking around this section of the city filled with restaurants and Tapas bars. This is another from the series that I’ve posted from the area. It was a film noir kind of atmosphere, such that I expected characters from an old movie to walk by at any moment. That never happened.

Black and white is a medium that evokes more from my imagination. Monochrome compared to color is like radio to video. Radio allows my mind to rush in a fill the void resulting in a more vivid experience. It’s counterintuitive, a case of less is more. So it is with black and white photography. My brain knows the world is colorful so it rushes in to fill a similar void and, unknowingly I’ve become engaged with the image.

In this scene I purposely removed some of the detail, I simplified the image. So that, together with the high contrast tones, the black and white image leaves out information for my mind to fill in. What I fill in is different from you, it’s depends on our personality, psyche and predispositions. Same principal as an ink blot, or looking at clouds, we each see something different. For me, this is a mystery and a puzzle all wrapped into an old movie from the forties. For you, something very different than me.

Catedral de Barcelona

Catedral de Barcelona
Catedral de Barcelona, also known as the Cathedral of Barcelona     Buy a gallery quality print

This is a small section of the front facade of Catedral de Barcelona. I could stand out front of this building and stare at the details for hours. Judging by the other people standing here, some did. I’m easily impressed, which is not to say this isn’t an amazing work of architecture, it’s just that I rarely get a chance to see buildings like this, so when I do I’m usually overwhelmed.

I think that if I see beautiful things often it helps boost my sense of esthetic. That’s true about anything, the more we do the better we get, so on and so on. That’s why I think public art is vital to a city. When it’s always there it strikes a cord, albeit subtle or even unconscious, but vital nonetheless. I just returned from Vancouver where I spent some time downtown. They have a lot of public art on display. I would say the people who see that art have a higher sense of aesthetic whether they realize it or not.

Barcelona has a tonne of public art, everywhere you look. And according to my theory, the residents of that city have a very high aesthetic IQ. That goes for a lot of like minded european cities where art is central. Of course I just stated what any european, and any art lover, already knows; that art is good for us and adds to the vitality of a city. Stating the obvious is just how I roll.

Barcelona Alley at Night

Barcelona Alley at Night
Barcelona alley at night as I walk around after Tapas and Sangria   Purchase a gallery print

This is another image of a Barcelona alley at night as I was walking around after a meal of Tapas and Sangria. Honestly, I could never find this spot in a million years, the area is like a casbah of sorts, narrow passages going this way and that, no rhyme nor reason for anything. It’s such a fun place, you can get delightfully lost and the worst that can happen is you end up in a bar sipping another Sangria as you contemplate your next move.

Of course not all cities are like this. The fact that you feel safe here speaks volumes about the people of Barcelona and their values. The only north American city where I’ve experienced something similar is in Vancouver, but that’s relatively new and doesn’t have the same old world character. Barcelona is a fusion of ancient and modern, cobblestones and Starbucks.

Another difference that comes to mind is that in north America if you stand somewhere and imagine what that spot looked like two or three hundred years ago you’d probably be standing in a field or forest. In many parts of Europe it might look similar to the present day minus the electricity and such. Europe has a long memory stored in the buildings, alleys and cobblestones that somehow seeps into me anytime I am here.

Two Cathedrals

Two Cathedrals
A composite of two cathedrals in Barcelona                                                 Purchase a gallery quality print

This is a composite of the inside of two cathedrals in Barcelona. One is the gothic Cathedral of Barcelona and the other is the post gothic Sagrada Família which was designed by Antoni Gaudi. The two edifices could not be more different. The only thing they have in common is they are Roman Catholic. The architecture of the gothic is filled with repeating lines and arches and domes whereas Gaudi has created a masterwork of modern art and design that is both organic and audacious.

Big heavy words alert!!!   🙂

In both photos I was standing in the middle of the cathedral looking straight up. I since wondered what would happen if the two were merged, and this is one possible result. A clash of ideas, a combination of opposing forces.

To me this might highlight the idea of the duality and its fusion back into singularity. Simply put, duality is two halves of a whole. We see it in every aspect of life around us. But what happens if we merge back to a singular state rather than opposing perspectives. This quickly gets metaphysical and takes us into uncharted waters, but you get my drift. Its just a crazy idea I’ve had from time to time.

In effect, this image is an abstract thought exercise that imagines the re-combining of two ideas into one. Or, if you prefer, this is how I doodle and daydream.

Bormuth Tapas Bar

Bormuth Tapas Bar
Bormuth Tapas Bar in the El Born / La Ribera section of Barcelona                     Purchase a gallery print

Bormuth Tapas Bar is located in the El Born / La Ribera section of Barcelona. It’s in a labyrinth of streets and shops. Of all the places I visited in this city, this area was most enjoyable to get lost in. I snapped this shot as I was walking around at night, but later learned from TripAdvisor that it has great ratings. Had I not just left another Tapas bar a few minutes before I would have stopped here for a quick nosh. This area is so fun I could imagine living in Barcelona just to hang out here and talk late into the night, or wander around with my camera.

Tapas is the way to go, a little bit of this, a little bit of that and some good Spanish wine to wash it all down. I’ve noticed a few Tapas bars popping up near my home in Florida lately. If I were to make a prediction I would guess that Tapas will grow in popularity here in North America. It just seems like a reasonable way to eat, kind of like a Spanish version of Dim Sum.

To take this photo I used an ISO of 5000 which is quite high. That and the in-camera image stabilization allows me to capture a night scenes like this that would not have been possible a year ago without a tripod. Capturing images at night is one of my favorite types of photography, the mood is transformed from the stark light of day and somehow it evokes more feelings and imagination, at least for me.

So here I am, lost in a labyrinth, having just had Tapas and wine, and lost in the joy of my favorite type of photography at the same time. What could be better?