Photography: Spain 2005
In the autumn of 2005 I went to Salamanca in Spain to study Spanish. Needless to say, not having studied the language and never having visited Spain before, I found it to be something of a culture shock. I hadn't really believed that there was anywhere left in the world where almost no-one spoke English - or even cared that they didn't. Not that I'm saying this is a bad thing - it just surprised me, used as I am to most Europeans being able to speak four languages. For whatever reason, they have preserved much of their culture intact under the influence of americanisation, losing only the worst and most backward parts of it.
The city of Salamanca, just over two hours to the west of Madrid, in the province of Castille & Leon, is on the face of it a quiet, picturesque university town, replete with fabulous architecture and beautiful people. At night, however, the quiet takes a break in one of the many bars, pubs and clubs open until the small hours of the morning.
The above photos are:
In general, while I had a great time in Spain, I didn't find the country particularly photogenic, or perhaps I should say rather that my style of photography was poorly suited to capturing such a subject. Whatever the case, the above four photos of Salamanca are the only really good ones out of several hundreds that I took in my two months there.
Shortly before leaving Spain, I went with some friends to Andalucia in the south of the country, and briefly visited Granada and Seville
In Granada, we were lucky enough to be able to visit the famous Alhambra, home of the Nasarin princes until their eventual defeat by Ferdinad and Isabella in 1492. The Alhambra constitutes the finest example of medieval islamic architecture to be found in Spain. The first photo is the view from the Generalife (garden of the architect) across to the Nasarin palaces, while the second is of the court of lions. The lions are the only representational art to be found in the Alhambra, and were reputedly carved by christian craftsmen, since the islamic doctrine of the time forbid muslims from creating representational art.
After visiting Granada, we drove to Seville. The first photo above shows the Seville skyline towards the end of the day, as seen from the Cathedral's tower. The cathedral is reputed to be one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world, but ironically its highest tower was originally a minaret. The second photo shows a street musician taking his equipment home, hoping to beat the rain.