Photo: GoProBcnPhoto

My friends at FotoTecnica contacted me, and asked if I could prepare something for their booth at Sonimagfoto. Since they were planning to share a portion of it with GoPro, I suggested two things that I could do for them.

One was simple: a silent version (no audio on booths) of a previous movie I made, recorded with a GoPro Hero-3 Black placed on a shelve of One-Michelin-Star restaurant Koy Shunka, that I happened to design four years ago, and make a fast/slow-action film of the chefs working on their dishes (the open kitchen happens to be quite spectacular, and by the way, food is absolutely amazing!). See here my original movie here and the silent version here.

Second was more of a niche project: what capabilities of the GoPros do we hardly think of? Photos. We do take photos when we make time-lapses, but I cannot remember seeing any "self-standing" photo session taken with a GoPro. So I went out to walk around the typical tourist tour around the old part of town, and snapped pictures like crazy. But with a twist: the pictures would be Black&White! I must admit I sneaked in a few pics that I snapped in Milan (I was there for Salone del Mobile), but for the sake of marketing, I decided not to change the title of the project. Please find the pictures below.

Photo: LLUNA (MOON) 'S NEW HOME

We are very lucky to have a garden. It is a small one, but it is right in the middle of the City. C'mon, are you complaining? No, I am not. It is only that it is not such a big garden. An there's our home on one end, and my photo studio on the other (my photo studio cannot be in out basement 'cause our home is actually in our basement!). And my office is only one floor up! Will it be big enough for her? We will still need to take her out, but being busy people as we all are at home, will she be ok? I wish I could skip a few hours of work a day, and go out with her. Wait a minute! I CAN skip a few hours a day; I am self-employed; I have my own office, and my own photo studio; I work as many hours a week as I wish... that's why I AM NOT DOING IT! I end up working as many hours a week as possible... how many hours in a week? I work all of them!!! Wait.  Let's do it! I need to get myself out of my home-studio-office for a walk every now and then.

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Photo: POOL MERMAIDS

Mermaids. Fascinating creatures. Mermaids' habitats are water shores. They spend many hours a day interacting, in some way or another, with water. After a few swims, they usually enjoy sitting next to the water and refresh themselves. They spend time absent-mindedly playing with rims and softly splashing the surface, while other mermaids swim around.

They sometimes lay down and sunbathe.

Mermaids are really difficult to portrait. They usually refuse to pose. They actually hide, escape, or politely excuse themselves as soon as a camera is withdrawn from a bag.

I was recently very lucky, and had the chance to take a few shots before I got fired with the phrase "Papa...! Sempre ens estàs fent fotos!! Que pesat!!! " (catalan-to-english google translate, if not obvious enough).

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Photo: S.S.L. (SUMER SOFA LAZINESS)

It takes some time. And patience... As soon as I pick my camera from my own lap she says " NO ". I then rise it to my eye, and she insists: " Papa, he dit NO ! " (Dad, I said NO!).

First shot. Hit! But her fan is covering most of her face (except her spying eye).

A few minutes later, second try. She has just folded her fan. In my mind, I view myself being faster at raising my camera and focusing than her opening her fan and covering her face again.

Fast synchronized (trained) movement: Camera - Eye - Focus - Click.

Focus check (playback) on the viewfinder... She raised her other hand....!!! How could she be that fast!?!? And fully synced with the shutter!!!

After a while of playful wrestling...

...she relaxes. The game is over. The weather is too hot here in summer for any unnecessary movement...

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She's mine!

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Photo: SELF

SELF as in my / your / him or her / one + self. This is the final conclusion, persistent in my mind, every time I take a walk at the sea front, in Costa Brava on cloudy days.

Relaxing and intense. Very relaxing. Very intense.

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These are the ingredients (from above and down):

  • Cloudy sky (overall gray; few isolated clouds are visible);
  • Horizon (immense, intense, hypnotic);
  • Rocks (washed out by centuries of waves; dark brown, like clay; really hard, but include cracks and caves; optimal for many kinds of life forms);
  • Every now and then, a handful of sand; seldom enough to produce a beach
  • Pinus Pinea, branches hanging over the water;
  • Costa Brava kind of Sea (which, I believe, is for some reason different from Costa del Sol's, Costa Dorada's and even Balearic's); it changes color whenever the sky does.
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    This is the effect it produces:

  • I find myself looking back at myself. But not literally. It behaves as a mirror, but uniquely, only to those things that are not visible.
  • I can suddenly see the noise of water and hear it's surface ripple and and touch the tides and smell the energy carried by millions of waves of past times.
  • Can you, too?

    P.

    Photo: LAX TOWER / THE BIRD

    I once won the first price of a photo contest. Our Col.legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya organized it first Digital Photography Contest for Architects sometime around year 2004. Subject: Architecture (really???!!!)

    A short time before, around 2003, we travelled to L.A. to visit my friend Peclar.

    When we arrived in the airport I was worn out, after a 14 hour flight from London, and a previous flight from Barcelona. Peclar was taking care of suitcases and car trunks. I looked up and there it was. The picture was there, waiting to be taken.

     LAX Tower / The Bird

    LAX Tower / The Bird

    For those who have never visited L.A., there is a 3-legged-spider Calatrava-looking (though it was not designed by him) building, right on LAX International Airport, known as LAX Tower. Although many people believe it has some relationship with airplanes, it is actually a restaurant.

    The picture is heavily based on composition and crop. The building structure is made of some kind of white concrete or enameled iron. The subtle contrast between the lit / unlit surface, and the blue California sky makes the picture look like its actually a watercolor painting.

    The contest was sponsored by a really big Japanese hardware company. I as a first price, I got a laptop. I had gotten myself a laptop of the same brand (by coincidence) only three months before, so I sold it and I bought the first half of my "girlfriend".

    My girlfriend, of whom my wife knows absolutely everything, is my beloved LEICA M6. She is more than a camera. She is (or I should say, was, since film labs have become a luxury I cannot afford) the closest I have had to a sixth finger on my right hand, or a third eye stuck on a piece of metal. She made me grow up photographically like nothing else in this world. For a long long time, I only used black and white film in it, and she made me learn how to see in black and white. Photographically, I am what/who I am, in a big percentage, because of her. It took me some six months to save the money for a Sumicron 35mm lens, and that's all I used and all I needed for a long long time.

    We were a happy couple of three.

    P.

    Photo: LONELINESS

    Some people say there is one phrase that a photographer should never say. And the reason why it should not be said is simple: it kills the challenge of taking pictures. Ok. Here it comes: "This is the best picture I have ever taken! It is definitely MY BEST PICTURE!!!"

    Oh! Wait! Let me quickly take it back, just in case.

    "This is the best picture I have ever taken! It is definitely MY BEST PICTURE!!!"

    Your best picture should be, not the one you just took, or the one you once took, but the next one you are planning to take.

    But I am strong. Knowing myself, my goods and bads, my limits, is somet

    hing I have had to live with in the last 20 years.

    My non-photographic Art has been used (which is something unusual for a piece of Art, except when it is architectonic), criticized (not that unusual), modified (usually by non-understanders), and even altered and destroyed. It lasts really long, often longer than people. Most of the time I have a thick skin about my own art.

    But all the time (that is, always) I am my worst Critic. I am the first person to tell myself how good or bad things came out. I end up hating my creations, taking them out of shelves and throwing them in drawers. As the great Architect (with capital A) Enric Miralles once told me, if a book (I apply this to other pieces of art) does not behave itself ("if it's not a good pal"), you should punish it on the shelf with all the other bad books! Period. I apply that it pics, too. Period.

    I once took a picture, and I believe it is the strongest / simplest / most intense / most minimal picture that I will ever take. Simply put: THE BEST.

     Loneliness

    Loneliness

    I took it in one of my favourite cities in the world: Istanbul. I was at Ara Cafe, waiting for the great photographer Ara Güler to review my portfolio. The bar is on the ground floor of his home and studio, on a side street of Istiklal Çaddesi. It was an intense moment. Weird. Short in time, long in feeling. Ara Bey was delayed by a previous meeting. I took this picture while waiting.

    What you are looking at is, yes, a glass of water. But when you put together the title ("Loneliness") with the general mood of the picture, you get an extra dimension of information. The observer's mind usually interprets the drink as an alcoholic beverage and the narrow depth of field as "sitting alone in a dark bar".

    The synergy between the picture and its own name takes the observer to a different dimension, more complex than the two taken separately.

    THE BEST!!!

    The Best? Mmmm... Lemme think...

    P.