I made plans to go to Barcelona nearly three months ago, and from the time I had my tickets in hand, I was so, so excited about the trip. I had heard tales of warm weather, late night fiestas, Spanish tapas, the whimsical buildings and mosaics of the legendary Gaudi, and of course, the chance to see Fleet Foxes play in Spain.
As the date drew ever eminent, however, the hard truth that my camera was not magically going to come back to life sunk in. Over the last months, I had grown so dependent upon it, photographing absolutely everything, from the meals I ate, and the streets I walked down, to the colors that rust made on fences, and lights illuminating the buildings at night.
There is something about the experience of photographing something at the very first moment you lay eyes on it; the raw excitement and perspective of that fresh vision that can't be captured or re-experienced if you return to photograph it later. Since beginning to document my life in photos, I've striven to take every photo in the very first moments and immortalize the sensation of each experience. And so, with that doctrine, my experience in Barcelona was a bit altered.
I think I managed to spend the weekend with my eyes half closed. Everything I saw, I tried to avert my eyes from, tried to overlook or miss. I was afraid of ruining any chance I did have of re-experiencing this place when I came back some day, with a camera.
Maybe this explains my hesitancy too, about taking pictures in Paris...
After a couple days in Barcelona, however, the need to "open my eyes" became more overwhelming. I began taking pictures with a throw-away film camera, which I've found to be quite a gamble. In about half the frames I had developed, the details of art nouveau interiors are completely lost, close-up piles of fresh seafood at the bouqeria market are out of focus, or the picture is mostly just of my fingers that, clumsily, have gotten in front of the lens.
And though I do like the grainy aesthetic and exaggerated contrast of the disposable film, I am not quite confident enough to rely on these cameras as I have my Nikon. I'm not as good at taking pictures as I would like to be. I can't get the results I strive for, I'm not consistent and I still need to take about five million pictures of the same thing before I'm satisfied. But I'm learning, as I go. And next time I come to Barcelona, I'll be ready.
I got the very best early Christmas presents from my grandparents this week: a brand spanking new camera!
So, I'm back in the saddle, off to explore with my Nikon around my neck, and a disposable camera in my pocket (just in case).