Back to where I started, sitting in my room in Utah, enjoying the slow pace of summer days. I had been looking forward to the trip to Spain for so long, to have it already pass by in a flash seems a little unreal. Being back in Park City where little changes, it feels like the whole trip was just one big dream. But as I think back to my initial predictions of what it would be like, and the first day sitting on the balcony of our homestay in Barcelona with Adam and Dylan, jet lagged, not knowing each other, scared our homestay mom hated us and speculating what Carlene had in store for us, I know so much has changed.
I remember when I first got to Barcelona and I was talking about photo essay ideas with Carlene. I said that I wasn’t really interested in doing portraits. I might of said that because of my lack of experience in the area or trying to resist interacting with people as much as I could, but little did I know then that portraits would be the majority of the photos I would shoot for stories. It wasn’t really a conscious decision to start focusing on portraits but rather it came more naturally, just as a clear necessity to best show stories. Through a series of events my first photo essay shifted to profile one street artist instead of just photographing walls throughout the city, and as my market photo essay developed I decided to not use any photograph that didn’t have a person in it. This shift was one of the best photographic skills I could have acquired and I’m glad to only expand from here. I was able to learn so much about photography through all of the situations I was thrown into. It has totally changed the way I look at photography and has given me a new appreciation for it.
But more generally, I came into to this trip with high expectations, expecting the unexpected, and that’s what I got. This dialogue was a lot of work for everyone but for me, it never felt like work, it was always exactly what I would have wanted to be doing. Working as journalists was the best way to explore and learn about the cities we were in. Through working on my own projects and assisting others with their articles, I was able to see so many places and meet so many people I would have never gotten to if we weren’t journalists. Constantly running throughout the city to photograph subjects ranging from churches, small businesses, food markets, street art, professors, ghost tours, child therapists, feminist activists and tapas tours, there was rarely a dull moment. And almost every step was a group effort. Everyone assisted each other in countless ways and I’m grateful for every person I was able to collaborate with.
And after all of the long days, I was lucky enough to be able to return to the best houses in Barcelona and Madrid. So many great nights laughing with Dylan, Adam and GUS on el balcon (our balcony) about the crazy days all of us had. The good times only continued to Madrid when the seven guys were blessed with receiving cuatro cuatro, the apartment number that will always remain in our hearts. Even though it had mice, ants, smelled bad, (all our faults so far) walls that were ripped apart, floors that were peeling, leaky showers and no AC, it was perfect. I’ll definitely miss all of our stupid inside jokes, watching the Shia LeBuff motivational speech on repeat and Mad Mad quotes. (even though I never watched it) Like all good things it had to come to an end, but hopefully, despite Carlene’s pessimism, we will carry on all of the friendships made to sometime relive the days we did our best to be international journalists in Spain.