On the grounds of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain sits a simple building. It was originally conceived as a schoolhouse for the children of those working to build the (minor) Basilica. I found this work to be more beautiful than the temple itself. La Sagrada Familia is overwhelming, busy, almost ostentatious. I haven’t worked on any of my photos of this treasure of architecture because I found myself so conflicted. I am not sure how I felt visiting. I expected to be in awe, and perhaps that word is accurate, but there was more…there is a harsh difference between Gaudi’s church and the other earlier work. The schoolhouse is simple, practical, elegant. It is in many ways opposite from the site in which it sits. My only regret was it wasn’t open the day I visited the church.
I love the natural world, the thing is…sometimes I wish it was inside. It’s the forms that I love, but I could do without the bugs and snakes. I think that is why I so love the work of Antoni Gaudi. His forms are so obviously of nature. This entryway in La Pedrera looks (to me) like a cave, the door looks like a tree or a mass of vine at its entrance, the walkway could easily be a spring running through the cave. With sensibilities such as this in architecture one wonders if you would ever need to go outdoors (just kidding).
Up on the Roof
I loved Barcelona, Spain. I keep saying that, but honestly it’s worth repeating. The thing that made it for me wasn’t the food, though it was excellent. It wasn’t the people, though they were warm and inviting. It was the amazing architectural master works of Antoni Gaudí. Up until this point, I would have probably pointed to Frank Lloyd Wright as my favorite architect, but after visiting Barcelona I have a hard time making that absolute statement. Surely, their styles are as far apart as night and day, but in each I find a harmony and a craft that I cant help but admire.
On many lists of the coolest subway stations in the world you will find the Drassanes Metro Station in Barcelona, Spain. It is oddly (to me) the Metro station located closest of the port area of the city and at the end of La Rambla, Barcelona’s massive pedestrian thoroughfare. I say odd because this station seems straight out of a sci-fi movie. Even more so than the shot recently that I took of the Dupont Circle Station in D.C. The station is bathed in a stark, white minimilism that reminded me immediately of THX 1138. What do you see?
I have been spending quite a bit of time in airports as of late. I am a bit fortunate because most of the the time I have access to a variety of lounges. This adds just a bit of comfort to your travels and will generally get you a free drink or two (additionally adding to your perceived comfort). Truth be told I actually like airports…well really modern ones like BCN. There are a variety of exciting things to look at and do and I love experiencing other countries everyday places. You never know what amazing things you will see or find!
When it comes down to it, I want to dedicate my life to going awesome places and photographing amazing things. That sounds like complete fantasy to some people, but an interesting thing has developed in my life…I decided this idea was too important to me to not do! Callings are interesting really, some people heed them, others die with dreams unfulfilled. Thoreau talked of resignation and quiet desperation, but I find myself looking more and more to places of inspiration, of hope.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
~Henry David Thoreau from Walden
I love finding really cool places no one has heard of…I love finding pieces of history that remind us how far we have come as a people, how far we have to go and how much we owe to those pioneers who blazed the first trails. While I was in Barcelona, I was privileged to visit Sala Gimbernat, an 18th Century Medical Theater. Build in 1758 it is one of the oldest Surgical Theaters in Europe and was built for The Royal College of Surgery of Barcelona. The Sala is old. It smells old, it has an amazing old world design; you can feel the history all around you. What we know today of medicine, owes much to this history.
There are times where the depth of beauty and amazing creativity of the human spirit move me out of myself into another place. Most concert halls are dark and have mechanically controlled light, in Catalonia I found a jewel that was the exact opposite.
I was amazingly lucky to be allowed to time to photograph the breath taking Palau de la Música Catalana while in Barcelona, Spain. The amazing people at the Palau gave me complete access to this treasure. Though difficult to see in this image (don’t worry there are many more), the skylight of the Palau is three dimensional. It was lovingly said to me, the skylight is like the sun and the Palau is as a garden of music. A more perfect description could not exist. I only hope my photographs will do some justice to the glory of the Palau.