Street Stories: Paris + Barcelona
18 May, 2017
Time seems to move a little slower in Barcelona and Paris. Going into this trip I was unsure what the focus of my photography would be, but soon I was transfixed by the vibrant life of the streets and how they contrasted. It only seemed appropriate to capture these moments organically on film. On my previous stay in Europe I spent most of my time stopping strangers and taking intimate portraits. This time around I found it more captivating to sit back and observe without interruption. I focused more on the architecture and colours of the cities, which made me appreciate the occasional local stumbling into my frame.
Paris is magical. It can be pouring with rain and the city is still a dream. Actually, there is nothing more liberating then standing on a terrace looking out over the rooftops in an early evening storm. This was my second time visiting and it took me five years to return. I was happy to find the streets in spring still smelled like cigarettes and roses. I can't stand the smell of tobacco but for some reason I don't mind it there. In fact, I don't seem to mind anything when I'm in Paris. The streets are a work of art, the people elegant and mysterious. There is a reason that café chairs sit side by side on the pavement - sit and watch the world drift by. I prefer old Paris with its effortlessly beautiful neighbourhoods full of tiny chimneys and crooked staircases. Exteriors are painted in perfectly muted tones, the colours faded and worn with time. We wandered aimlessly for hours every day during our stay. Right when you think that you've seen it all, you stumble upon a new alley that opens to a square of cafes and shops. It's easy to romanticise Paris. The streets leave you drunk on life and new beginnings.
Before we landed my knowledge of Barcelona didn't stretch farther then tapas, flamenco and the legendary Gaudi. Most of my outlook was foolishly based on the Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and I wasn't sure what to expect. My first thought when I stepped outside was that the sun was warm on our winter skin and that the air felt different. It seemed that summer had began early in Spain. Lemon trees grew wild outside of our temporary home, which was hosted by a local sculptor. The house sat on a cliff that overlooked Barcelona and the La Sagrada Familia. I was eager to explore and the real excitement kicked in when we delved into the tiny winding streets below. The local neighbourhoods reflect an old-school charm with laundry lines billowing from the windows and flags waving proudly above the streets. For an American girl, it's pretty wild to walk down roads that outdate your own country. Mixed in with the humbling history, the streets overflow with modern inspiration and beautiful people. The edges of the buildings are undefined and the city glows in vibrant colours. As you go further into the city, you start to smell the fresh salt of the Mediterranean and remember that you are by the sea.