In this case, I was in the town of Sitges, walking around on a Sunday. I was next to the main church that sits along the sea. Sunday notwithstanding, nobody was going in or out, just tourists, like me, walking around it, taking pictures, and practicing leisure.
Here are some people in the gothic quarter of Barcelona sitting outside at a tapas bar, talking late into the night.
Scenes like this occur over and over, and I think, are typical of Catalonian culture. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems quite friendly and puts a lot of value on spending time with family and friends.
It’s not difficult to see the appeal, especially in places like Barcelona. Sure, every area has its problems, but it’s fun to see different lifestyles and wonder what it would be like to live there, if only for a spell.
Something tells me that this AirBnB has no Wifi, no A/C nor Color TV. But it does have a stove and the South Dakota sky.
This picture was taken from what was once the movie set of Dances with Wolves and is now a museum and tourist spot along Highway 90. A structure like this makes me very appreciative of modern conveniences. Back then, it was way different.
Feeling a sense of gratitude for what we have goes a long way to erasing the thoughts and feelings of what we don’t have. There are a lot of things I would like, but when I look at this house and imagine surviving through the long cold winter in the Dakotas, I’m pretty dang happy with what I’ve got: including Wifi, A/C, and a color iPad. (Nobody watches TV anymore).
I left my wife in a shoe store as I walked around taking photos in the old streets of Barcelona. This is not your typical mall.
There’s something pleasing about photos of people juxtaposed to the surrounding buildings; especially when the buildings are very old or very new. Even if the people are just going shopping, it’s better than hanging out at the mall.
Malls are becoming a thing of the past. Or, maybe, they are morphing into something else, less mall-like. I’m not sure I buy into that because as long as you have to drive to a mall, it’s still a mall. But I digress. Where was I?
Lately, I’ve been taking drives into the country looking for interesting things to shoot. For some reason, I find this old broken down barn interesting. I’m not sure if its a barn, it could be an old house.
I go alone on these trips because my driving would terrify any sane person. When I see something, I quickly check behind me and then decelerate while pulling over to the side of the road. It’s enough to give a passenger white knuckles. Often I’ll back-up to get a better look. If it looks promising, I’ll get out and compose a few shots then move on.
Anyway, I saw this out of the corner of my eye and then pulled over about a hundred yards down the road. Maybe it reminds me of something in the past, or perhaps it has character. Whatever the case, I was intrigued enough to stop.
A couple of years ago I was in the small fishing village of Ucluelet, British Columbia. In the center of town on a hill, I noticed this old church that seems to be in need of a paint job. Its rustic appearance piqued my interest and I took a photo that I haven’t processed until now.
The reason I waited so long is that the church is actually obscured by all kinds of wires. What I did was to use Photoshop to remove all of the wires. Because there were so many it took me hours of detailed work to get this image. To get a sense of what the scene really looked like, take a look at this image from Google Maps.
For me, I prefer the version without the wires. I know it’s not real, but I do these things because it resonates with me as I look for an aesthetic amongst the chaos. I think the image is more interesting now, even though it’s not completely real. And besides, the process of removing the wires was almost like a meditation on removing complexity. There is probably a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.
This is the ancient village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert in southern France. Walking the cobblestone streets I was stuck by how old everything was, yet the people living here seemed quite normal. That sounds ignorant of me, but it’s hard to imagine this setting in the modern world, yet here it is and people live their lives here, one foot in today and another in yesterday. A paradox of sorts I suppose.
For instance some people have satellite dishes and iPhones and MacBookPros. Yet the door to their home could be three-hundred years old. I saw a doctor riding through the streets on a motorcycle making a house call. I saw chickens in a coup, there were children in school on a treasure hunt; all normal things for sure. It’s a product of having been raised in North America, where the entire country is younger than the doorframe to one of these homes.
Maybe our modern cities will look like this in three hundred years from now. Not likely, our homes are not made to last longer than fifty years or so. But this is what happens when you build structures to last, you create a link to the past that people like me can stumble upon and end up wondering about the intermingling of centuries. Your thought for the day.
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.
Actually, I have no idea if this is a typical day or not, I’ve only been here once. But because it was a Tuesday and not the weekend, I have to assume it was typical. I guess I’ll have to wait until I come back to be sure. The beach is protected by a seawall and the shops are all open and outdoor bistros serve beer, wine, coffee and pastries. Personally I could get used to this as a typical day. We stopped along here and had a drink at one of the cafes as we watched the everything around us. If I did live here I’d probably live to be a ripe old age, playing checkers or bocci ball with the other escapees from modern civilization. Then I’d sit and have a glass of red wine while I watched the people go by. Then I’d get up in the morning and do it all again. Just another typical day in Collioure, France.
This is the village of Gigondas which is in a mountainous area in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur northeast of Montpellier. Like many places in this part of France, Gigondas is known for its wine. Some of the vintners here refuse to change the methods of production that have survived hundreds of years from generation to generation. The town is on a hillside over looking the vineyards and these narrow streets climb up to a church overlooking the village. I took this on the way back down after surveying the surroundings and wondering how it is that these people manage to live apparent tranquil lives without all the big box stores and high tech gadgets. I think I know the answer to that.