Archive | Photo Essay

Alegría in Spain

Is there anything as red as the red of a poppy? I don’t think so. Here are some of my favourite poppy images from years past. Springtime in Spain is a splash of vivid colour, a welcome touch of alegría

All photos ©Mike Randolph

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Welcome to the Barrio

Two weeks ago, we were relieved to regain the freedom of being able to leave our apartment and go for a walk, as long as it wasn’t far from home. With not much else allowed, however, there was nothing else to do but enjoy strolling around and admire the outside world. It was lovely.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked as intently at the architecture in my neighbourhood of Chamberí, Madrid. Such a spectrum of styles. Some of the buildings are Continue Reading →

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Spain, Indoors

I believe that positivity–or negativity, for that matter–is a choice. I think. Maybe, who knows. But I like to believe that it’s a choice because it feels positive to think that, so I guess it must be true then, right? It puts me in mind of a quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, which I heard from a friend a while ago. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

So, not being able to go outside to take pictures, I took pictures inside. I wasn’t going to post them but after mentioning it to a friend, he asked to see them. He was so positive and supportive and he also said they inspired him to take his camera into his garden and he spent an enjoyable, relaxing hour or so being creative.

It’s nice to think that I inspired him to do that. Except, the friend who took the pictures in his garden Continue Reading →

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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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