Tag Archives: street photography

Street photography in Europe: Spain

After France, here’s a selection of street portraits I took when I traveled to Spain (in 2007 and 2009).

I’ve been to Barcelona and Figueras, both of which are situated in the autonomous community of Catalunya. Here, like in Quebec, the common language (Catalan/French) is different from the main country’s official language (Spanish/English). They also have their own culture and traditions.

I know that the political situation is complex so I won’t get into that. For now, this region is still part of Spain and it made such a good impression on me that I went back a second time after my initial visit. Exploring other parts of the country is definitely something I plan to do in the future, because of my love for the language (I’m working on learning it right now!) and my general fascination with that country’s culture, cuisine and landscapes.

Barcelona

People ask what my favorite city in the world is. I can’t pick one so I usually give a top 3: Montreal, Istanbul and Barcelona. I don’t think I have to explain the first one, as I’ve professed my love for the city I live in quite often on this blog. Istanbul is a city I’ll gladly address  in another article.

This is what I wrote about Barcelona last year on another blog (in french):

Much has been said about this city in the last few years. Young people head there for the legendary nightlife. Art lovers go to visit the numerous museums and to contemplate the architectural gems. Foodies try to get reservations at Ferran and Albert Adria’s restaurants and upon failure, go to visit the many other eateries serving a tasty, audacious cuisine.

Most travelers that visit Barcelona come home truly entranced and enchanted by their visit in the Catalan capital. Everyone will find something that they like, even those that don’t usually like urban environments.

The effervescence and the warm atmosphere will almost assuredly succeed in casting a spell on the most blasé of travelers. Furthermore, it’s geographical situation is ideal, mixing the sea, the mountains and a Mediterranean climate (mild winters, warm summers).

Barcelona does not carry the historical weight of other big European cities like Paris, London or Rome. In a way, it is possibly what makes it so interesting and so modern. The first stones in this city where laid more than 2000 years ago but the relics of the past are not what characterizes it.

The city as we know it now exists mostly since the end of Spanish dictator Franco’s rule, in 1975.

Once they were released from the tough censorship (particularly severe against the Catalans), barcelonians took over the construction of their city, which had not really progressed since the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. In 1992, the holding of the Olympic Games served as a pretext for the renewal of several of the city’s infrastructures and for the construction of new, more modern buildings that remained in tune with the dominant architectural styles of the city (modeled mostly by famed architect Antoni Gaudi).

Here are photos of people, taken in the streets of this lovely ciutat:

Man on the street in Barcelona

Boy and his father at the Sagrada familia cathedral

Young man taking a picture at Casa Mila(la pedrera)

Street artists at Parc Guell, Barcelona

Man near Sagrada Familia street portrait

Figueras

The small, sleepy town of Figueras (Figueres in catalan) is where notable surrealist Salvador Dali was born. Fans of the artist should make the day trip from Barcelona to visit the Teatre-Museu Dali which is dedicated to his work. The building and premises were imagined by the artist himself, making it all the more interesting a place to view his paintings, sculptures and various creations (like the famous living room setting in the shape of Mae West’s face).

Man playing with a Dali themed installation, Figueras
girls street portrait spain
Street portrait dali museum spain
Street portrait girl spain
street portrait man with dreadlocks spain

Street photography in Europe: France

A few years ago I really got into street photography, specifically, capturing portraits of strangers on the street.
I’ve decided to do a series of posts sharing these pictures, going country by country.

First is France.
France is the country where I’ve spent most of my life after Canada. I’ve both traveled and lived there over the last 6 years (in 2006, 2007 and 2009-10).

When I go to Europe, it’s always the first place where I land (the plane tickets are cheaper due both to the number of french people that want to come live here and the Quebecers that want to visit the Old World countries).

Europe, for a north-american gal like me, is a treasure-trove of architectural gems, fascinating museums, poetic languages, varied scenery and gastronomical mastery. OK, so that’s definitely the simplistic, fully idealist portrait of what is a large and complex continent, but it represents how I imagined it when I was a young girl, reading my National Geographics, dreaming of the day that I’d set foot there.

I just want to keep a bit of that beautiful naiveté. So far, I’ve managed pretty well.

These are pictures of people on the street in France.

Let’s start by Paris, the mecca for people-watching.

Stylish people, tons of tourists and loads of adorable children floating their boats on the city’s many beautiful fountains.

Young girl dancing in Paris

Tourist in ParisHandsome man in Paris

Bordeaux is another city that I love.

Like Paris, it is a great place to sit down and just watch the world go by. The first picture shows a young girl playing on a public art installation.

The second image is one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever photographed. I was sitting down at place de la Victoire, relaxing after a long walk. As I played with my camera, trying to be subtle whilst captured the faces of the people surrounding me, I noticed this man. He was just standing there, with a sort of perpetually pissed off look on his face, not aiming it at anything in particular. I was fascinated not only by his attitude but by his very particular physiognomy. Each time I stumble upon this photograph, I study it for a few minutes. It just puts me in a good mood.

GIrl playing in the street Bordeaux

THE OLD MAN

Britanny is where my workcamp friend Sarah lives. We met in Bordeaux in 2006 and I went to visit her in her native region in the summer of 2007. Though the geographical region they live in is rather cold, even in the middle of summer, I must say that Bretons struck me as a warm and friendly population. It also helps that the area is strikingly gorgeous.

Playful girl in Concarneau

Poney and man in Britanny

I never planned on going to visit La Rochelle, I just sort of ended up there when my travel plans got shuffled around. It was a crazy move on my part, because I ended up in this beautiful medieval town during the popular Francofolies festival, with no place to sleep. I worked it out and ended up having a blast. I also got to take some pictures of a few rather famous artists (in France).

The first two images show street performers.

Street performer La Rochelle

Street Performer in La Rochelle France

I caught a free outdoor show organized by local TV station France 4 where artists featured at the fest were invited to play one or two songs.

Some of them were relative unknowns, but others were household names. Here are photos of three of those artists (click the name to hear a song of theirs)

Laurent Voulzy

Laurent Voulzy La Rochelle

Ours (Charles Souchon)

Ours- Pierre Souchon

Tété

tété

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Soon I’ll be posting more from other countries in Europe.