Two days ago was a whirlwind of running throughout the city and reporting. It was exhausting, but definitely the most fulfilling day so far. I started photographing at 7:30 am and didn’t get back until 1:30 am. To start the day off, I somehow convinced myself to get out of bed at the crack of dawn thinking it would be the best light to only figure out Madrid looks better in the 8:30 am light. (Maybe 6:00 am would look best but I probably will never know.)
After, I ran back to the apartment to regroup with the guys and prepare for class. 15 minutes after arriving I headed right back in the direction I came to photograph three business owners who focus on selling custom made furniture and decorations for Monica’s story. We had to spend 30 minutes waiting to talk to one of them, but thankfully there was a park nearby where we enjoyed some cold water and got to watch and old man run around and yell as he tried to train his excited little puppy.
After that, I headed back to class for a quick lunch where I experienced the most disappointing part of the day. I bought what appeared to be a delicious strawberry smoothie only to taste it and feel violated when I realized it was tomato gazpacho. I quickly pieced together my betrayed emotions before heading out again. Monica, Adam, Dylan and I set out to try and find a progressive new church that is embracing progressive views and utilizing wifi and flat screen TVs and even using iPads for confessions. We took the metro into the middle of the city but couldn’t find it for the life of us. In the 90 degree Madrid heat, we ran to three locations with no luck. I navigated us to the last possible spot it might have been but the building turned out to be abandoned and was being renovated. As I pulled out my phone in defeat and started checking for the nearest metro stop to head back, Adam walked down the street and finally found it. We were welcomed by ice cold air conditioning seeping out from the church doors onto the sidewalk. We didn’t know who we were going to be able to talk to, but we were immediately invited up past the altar and into a back room to speak with the director of the church. As the four of us sat with him in the back room, only other sound accompanying his quite voice was gospel music coming from the plasma TVs outside the door. After he walked us through the history of the church and their very progressive views, he said the father of the church might be visiting soon for a few minutes and we would be able to talk to him. He gave us a quick tour of the church as we waited, and soon enough the father slowly walked through the church doors and greeted us. We were able to talk to him for 10 minutes before he left for a bullfight, but what stuck in my mind the most was one response he had. When asked if he needed to be approved by higher ups before creating a church located in the gay neighborhood, accepts animals and is openly embracing technology, he grinned and responded that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. It was exciting to see someone so high up in the church that has such progressive views.
After leaving the church we made sure to thank Jesus for the great interviews, and headed to the closest cafe for a celebratory beer. Unfortunately, I was only able to sit down for 15 minutes before heading to the next story. I ran over to meet Maria and Alex to interview two feminist artists. I’m not entirely sure what the place was where we conducted the interview, but I think it was some sort of secret feminist cafe. We got buzzed into the cafe and there were only two other women in the quietly drinking tea. I didn’t realize was odd at first but what I presumed to be the owner quickly let me know I had to leave in at least 30 minutes because guys weren’t allowed that night. But it turned out all right, I got the shots I needed and headed to meet the food tour guide for my final story of the day.
This was the one story I definitely did not want to screw up and knew I would hate myself if I didn’t think I did the best job I could. But as I walked over I realized I didn’t have a reporters notebook, and time was running out. After running around the block, I found a convenient store and grabbed the first notebook I saw. It was only until later I realized it was an accounting notebook with no blank pages, but it would have to do. I ran down the block and started old deleting photos off my camera to more make room for all of the beautiful food shots to come. I arrived to the plaza fifteen minutes early and finally was able to relax.
The food tour was a great experience and I feel lucky I was able to go on it. The group went to five different restaurants where we had the specialty drink at each place paired with several tapas. The drinks ranged from vermouth, to cava to wine. The food was great and had some traditional plates such as patatas bravas, calamari and jamon, but I was also able to try adrenal glands and kidneys.
The past few days have been packed with work but it has been a lot of fun. There was a lot more that has happened so hopefully I’ll be able to write more about it in a future post. Make sure to read all of the stories when they’re published to see the best photos!