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: IN-BETWEEN LINES

Whenever I travel to a new place, I enjoy practicing one of my favorite sports: taking long walks by myself, camera in hand, spending as much time as I will, just looking at people and places, observing habits and taking pictures, getting lost and finally (hopefully) finding my way around back to the base camp. I am good at reading maps, at understanding the logic of city layout; happily, so far I have always managed to find my way back to the base camp! Last year, while practicing that sport in Santiago de Chile I found myself in an office building with a charmingly tacky (or was it tackily charming?) inside open space.

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In general, if you are good at reading in-between lines, you perceive more information than the obvious, visible to everyone. And that applies not only to words and their silences, but also to objects and their shapes, and also to spaces and their emptiness.

Buildings are like people. They have a personality. But most of the time, buildings last longer, and therefore, with the perspective of time, some look now outdated.

Reading in-between lines an old, outdated building tells you many things about the way people lived when the building was splendorous: their habits, their tastes...

I sometimes play the game "let's pretend this picture was the opening frame of a movie" in my head. In my mind, I make up the characters, their personalities, the relationships between them, how they would act, how they would move. And immediately after, where the camera would be placed, how it would pan and shift...

P.

Photo: BARCELONA IS BLUE

Barcelona is BLUE.

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Barcelona is Blue because of the sea and because of the waves and the noise they make.

It is Blue because of the sky and the sun and the clouds.

It is Blue because there's a horizon, and there's sunlight.

Barcelona is Blue because we are Mediterranean people. Or is it the other way around?

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Barcelona is definitely BLUE.

Or is it BLACK and WHITE?

P.

Photo: BARCELONA IS BLACK AND WHITE

Barcelona is BLACK and WHITE. It happens in Black and White. It was designed in Black and White. People live in Black and White, and many of its inhabitants know it. And they are happy about it, because it relates to its intensity.

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Barcelona was founded more than 2.000 years ago. As many other cities that are as old, it works in layers. There is a pre-roman layer and there is a roman layer and a romanic, and there's also a gothic and a baroque. And then, of course, uniquely to our city, there's Gaudí and all the other modernist architects and garden designers and craftsmen and sculptors and painters. And then there's us.

You know the cliche: old towns in Europe are full of contrasts. Barcelona is no exception.

That applies to ancient buildings on narrow streets packed of old people, who have lived there for all their lives, a couple blocks away from new non-residential skyscrapers on really straight avenues.

But it also applies to the shades and shadows created by the the sunlight enhancing the textures of different shapes and materials, often washed away by rain and time.

Barcelona's old town (Ciutat Vella) is divided into three neighborhoods. One of them is El Borne, in which I lived for fifteen years, actually until a year ago. Living there is like living in a village, but more exciting culture-wise and much more aggressive safety-wise. My friends were at the same time amazed that I could live in such area, and astonished that I was happy to be there. Ok. Let me fair: The area is unsafe! Period. But it is so only for foreigners (that includes tourists and barcelonians from other neighborhoods). I used to joke with friends who belong to the latter: dangerous people live in my area and work in yours! Carrying a camera around your neck would attract a few eyes; carrying it hanging from your shoulder would attract even more (it's easier to pull). I use to wander around Ciutat Vella every weekend, and very often I would take a camera with me. For a certain period, I would even go out at night (around 2am or later) with my camera and pocket full of Black and White film, and look for contrasts to take pictures of, the one at the beginning of this post being one of them. I must admit that the camera of choice would usually be my Nikon F4, designed to take pictures, but so robustly built that could also be used to hammer nails on walls or as a nutcracker. Or to defend yourself from a blow and hit back (which, by the way, I never found myself doing).

The following pictures were taken from my home. If you ever happen to be at a rooftop in Ciutat Vella, just look around and you will discover a multitude of worlds.

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Barcelona is definitely in BLACK and WHITE.

Or is it BLUE?

P.

Photo: MAVI JEANS' BACKSTAGE

Elif from Mavi Jeans is the closest I have had to a sister. She is an angel. Simply put, she spoils me. Her boyfriend and boyfriend's brother are my Turkish brothers. Elif, if you are reading this, seni çoz ozledim. All the time. Why did Bread n' Butter have to cancel their Barcelona events???!!! I am a worse person since I don't get to see you twice a year. I was once invited to the presentation of their new collection. I asked permission to shoot the backstage. It was my first experience on a backstages and catwalks and such. I had no idea what the thing would be like. What camera should I take?

Every other photographer was carrying big cameras and long lenses. Ok, ok, models are used to being shot with big bodies and long lenses... but they relax when you are shooting with a gimmick-looking Leica.

A little while before, I had decided to go the simple way, film-wise: I would shoot 100, 400 and 3200 ISO Kodak Black and White film only (short after, I ditched 100 ISO, since most of the time I was stopping down the 400 ISO film to 200). This simpler range of film would let me concentrate on the image, being the only question / decision: is the place lit (400 iso) or unlit (3200 iso). All pictures below were taken handheld.

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Elif was kind enough to include the pictures I took at Tibet at their Bread n' Butter, a few months after the trip. This was really a honor, considering that the list of photographers that have collaborated with Mavi Jeans is overwhelming: Martin Parr, Abbas, Oliviero Toscani, Emir Kusturica (he is not a photographer; but he shot a great TV spot for Mavi Jeans) ...

Elif. You spoil me. I thank you.

P.

Photo: 5 PEOPLE IN A LONDON TAXI

My girlfriend (see previous post) travelled with me all the time, for so many years.She is small enough to sneak with me in places, and do her job in an extremely smooth and efficient manner.

Simply put, she is gorgeous!

Leica produces amazing machines: amazing gear construction for one simple purpose: amazing picture quality. And, amazingly, Leica cameras are usually unnoticed. People rarely pay attention to other people carrying Leicas (unless the camera is hanging from someone's shoulder during a photo exhibition opening venue! Then you are noticed, and not in the positive way...!)

I once went on a business trip to London. Funny as it may sound, the purpose of the trip was to visit the finest Japanese and Chinese rsstaurants in town (yes, I insist: business trip). And if you are wondering, yes, there's many many fine Japanese and Chinese restaurants in London. You can usually visit restaurants during lunch and / or dinner time, and sometimes, if the place has a tea-room, bakery or other side business, also in between meals.

I took two cameras with me: a pocket digital compact (I cannot remember which brand / model) and my Leica M6. One for business pics, one for art. The Leica was loaded, as usual, with black and white film only.

Being a party of five people, the fastest, cheapest, most efficient way to move around was in taxis. I decided that, on every ride, i would sit on the front folding seat, facing backwards, so I could take pictures of my friends:

 Albert A.

Albert A.

 Sam

Sam

 Albert R.

Albert R.

 Hideki

Hideki

Q: How come "5 People in a London Taxi" consists of only 4 photos? A: I didn't self-portrait.

P.S.: all pictures were taken handheld (passenger space inside London Taxis would be too small to open a tripod) (or would it?)

P.