Archive | Photo Essay

Madrid, Through The Looking Glass

Off and on for the past year, I’ve been working on this photo essay on streets in Madrid. It’s one of those things that you’re never quite sure you’re finished, but I thought it’s been long enough now, time to show it. There is no Photoshop involved and no double exposures or anything else. Just images I found with my eyes and took with one click of the shutter. Some of them are almost abstract, with multiple layers of reflections. It takes a while to ‘see’ these image opportunities as a photographer, because everyone living in cities is so used to seeing reflections that you just tune them out and no longer really even see them. I made a video out of them, and put them to a song that I like by the very talented Andrew Bird, who plays Carnegie Hall next week. It’s really best to watch it full screen. (After hitting Play, it’s the bottom-right button.) Let me know whether you like it in the comments below. Thanks for having a look and please share it with your friends!

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With the Retiro it’s not Goodbye, it’s Hasta Pronto

I recently moved away from my favourite place in Madrid, the Parque del Gran Retiro, a green oasis in the heart of the city.

There were reasons, and some justifications, too. The new apartment was bigger, with nicer floors, and lots of storage space. Those things can eventually become non-negotiable. Plus we got something of a deal on it because my cousin Jaime lived there until he decided to move with his family to Switzerland (that’s another story, and I’ll get to that sometime). Had we not taken it over the rent would have gone up but the point is, it’s a beautiful apartment in an old building in Chamberí, right downtown. Besides, we were ready for a change.

The problem was leaving the Retiro. It’s not like it’s far, you can walk there in 45 minutes from the new place, but it’s not just outside your door, either. At first Miss A and I tried to justify it by saying, ‘we’ll still come here all the time, it’s not that far’ but eventually we stopped pretending. On an average night when we just want to get out of the house we’re not going to the Retiro. We’ll miss having it so close, but that’s how it goes when you move to a different neighbourhood. You prefer some things, and miss others, hopefully in the right proportions.

The Retiro is relaxing not only because it’s a beautiful park with lots of trees and birds and away from the chaotic traffic of downtown Madrid, it’s also relaxing because that’s where other people relax. It’s catchy. There’s the young couple canoodling on the grass near the fountain, the old, well-dressed man reading the paper on the bench, smoking his pipe. On the promenade the inline skaters slalom through tiny pylons on one foot, dogs chase and sniff each other, and senior citizens languidly turn the pedals on stationary bicycles. There are cafés throughout the park, and they’re almost always busy, either with people sitting quietly, maybe reading a book, or groups of friends having beers. Everyone has a great time. It’s hard not to.

Images ©Mike Randolph, All Rights Reserved

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An Afternoon In Ávila

A month or so ago, I went to the walled city of Ávila with some friends and family for lunch. Of course, I took my camera with me, as I always do. I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot–hey, the famous (and delicious) steak from there is huge and takes a while to get through–but I still managed to get a few shots I like.

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Springtime in Southern Spain

Click on images for a larger view. Photo ©Mike Randolph

Last week a reader wrote to tell me that my photo of the horseback rider on the cold, wet mountain trail in Asturias was beautiful, she loved it (thank you again P), but that she wanted to see images of spring because it’s been a hard winter in Toronto, Canada, where she lives.

Since I know what that’s like, I get it. This is urgent. Continue Reading →

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Lonely Landscapes of the Duero

Ribera del Duero countryside, Spain.

The famous Ribera del Duero wine-making region, on the high plains of Castilla y León, has an alluring, if austere, beauty. The Duero River winds through some of the most empty, and historic, landscapes in Spain. For three centuries, the Duero was a kind of no-man’s land, a dangerous frontier between Christian and Muslim Spain. Click the Continue link to see all seven images, and as always, click any image to see a larger view. Photos ©Mike Randolph  Continue Reading →

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The Places In Between

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I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Spain over the years, usually to take pictures of a specific destination. But what about the places along the way? Here’s a random selection of eight images taken

Continue Reading →

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Unfriendly Giants

A cabezudo takes time out from chasing kids around during Pamplona’s Sanfermines fiesta. Cabezudos (roughly translates to ‘big heads’) are popular in fiestas throughout northern Spain, and are always accompanied by gigantes, people dressed up in costume and, usually, walking around on stilts. Photo ©Mike Randolph

Buy a limited edition print of this image

The cabezudos (in this case, kiliki) run after children, trying to Continue Reading →

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Marketing 101

A 14th Century Moorish gate serves as the main entrance into Malaga’s Atarazanas market. I remember when the market used to be a lot different–rundown, a little dirty, and decidedly nose-unfriendly in places. In 2008, the market underwent a renovation that would take two years. Some Malagueños were a little nervous about how it would turn out. There was a trend around that time to change mercados from a place to buy food to a place to go for tapas. Malagueños wanted a real market, not a Disney version built for tourists.

Happily, the Mercado de Atarazanas was saved from that fate. It’s now clean, with modern stalls, a lot brighter (thanks to a transparent roof) and most important, it’s still a real market, the heartbeat of downtown Malaga.

Click on an image to expand it. Photos ©Mike Randolph

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