They say that scent is deeply connected to memory, and perhaps that’s why I can still smell the scent of oranges and jasmine when I think about Spain. It was all a dream for me, and it is one I return to often, especially in the cold months of winter. I was lucky to spend a month, getting to know the country, and traveling from Madrid to Barcelona: from the Canary Island to Andalusia. Spain is geographically small, but it is filled with centuries of history, dating back thousands of years. From the food and the art; to the landscape and it’s people, there is a lot to enjoy. Looking back at many of the pictures that I took, I realize it was hard for me to record the complete picture of what was happening and what I was feeling. It’s difficult when you’re traveling, and experiencing all of the different emotions that come with it, to capture the moment, especially when you are trying to truly live it. Many times I would leave my camera behind, just so that I wouldn’t be distracted, and I don’t regret that decision. Sometimes the instrument we use to express ourselves can also get in the way of genuine experience, so it’s good to recognize when to leave it be. It is an object lesson in life. It will all fade away, it comes to an end, some things will remain hidden. That is the essence of what makes it beautiful, the fragility of it all. Going to Spain was something that I had wanted to do for so long, that I had built it up in my imagination, and fortunately, I was not disappointed. I took a variety of films on this trip, including lots of expired slide film, Kodak Tri-X 400, and some expired color film, which lent some of the photos a dreamy, washed out look. I was carrying my old Sears KSX camera, and a Holga, as well as a Canon Rebel digital camera. I took lots of shots with my iPhone as well, but the pics below are all film. My Sears finally bit the dust last summer, in the salt and rain of Panama, but it had served me well over the years, and it was a good, cheap camera to learn on. Here’s a sample of what I was able to carry home with me.
I’ve always been drawn to black and white, contrast, and deep shadows. That is where I go, instinctually, when I pick up a camera. I’ve also never been much of a nature or landscape photographer, but I like to experiment, and when I read about the profile of Kodak Gold 200, I was intrigued and picked up some rolls on sale. I intentionally shot subject matter that I normally wouldn’t have, in conditions that I typically avoid. Mostly sunny, midday environments, while I was out walking with an Olympus XA. The Olympus itself is a quirky little camera. It’s tiny, and it fits in the pocket. It’s discreet and simple. Lots of people use them for street photography, but I like it as a walk around camera. Something I can tuck in my pocket when I go walk the dog, or have no destination in mind. It’s a rangefinder, and you have three options for focusing, so be prepared for screw ups. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy enough though, and you won’t burn through too much film. Shooting with it, I kind of let go and just shoot more haphazardly. I was pretty happy with the results, although the XA was a bit fragile, and I had some technical issues, I love the color profile of the Kodak Gold, and the XA has a sharp and contrasty lens that adds a little pop. The best thing about it is that it gives me an excuse to go out and spend some time outdoors, being content to hear the rustle of the leaves in the wind.