2. Barcelona, Cataluña, España
Familiarised with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II in the surroundings where I live, I travel to Barcelona to take new photos before getting on the first plane. I am passionate about the relationship of the human being with the gods, another aspect that I will investigate during this trip. I already have two objectives for this journey: low light and exploring religious venues with my camera. Little by little, the revelations flow and bring ideas that will enrich the long journey that is about to begin.
Consequently, I head to one of Condal City’s crown jewels, the expiatory temple of Sagrada Familia [Holy Family]. Designed by Antoni Gaudí in 1882, this marvel of Modernism is a song to light and form. The brilliant Catalan architect conceived the perfect mixture of space and chromatic challenges, decades before colour photography was invented. I am seduced by those intangible paths marked by the lighting of the stained glass windows and I look up, fascinated by the frame of the basilica, like Jonah in the belly of the whale. The columns test my sense of composition and in this magical setting, the 12 mm f/2 helps me to capture the nature of its central nave.
Camera in hand I investigate the corners, move at the rhythm of the whims of light and explore new colour combinations. Once the essay on architectural photography was finished, I looked at the reactions of the visitors. They are fascinated by its magic when they enter the room. I would like to capture that romance between the light and their eagerness to apprehend it. It is difficult to approach the subject with a general take because the immensity and complexity of the enclosure are too great to register their expressions.
Suddenly, a mirror strategically placed solves this dilemma. Designed to contemplate the ceiling, without the danger of leaving the basilica with the neck shattered from looking up, tourists prefer to use it for their selfies. The key lays in this small space of just one square metre. I spend a quarter of an hour photographing the reactions in front of the mirror. I’m not in a hurry and at the end I’m satisfied.
Just across from the Sagrada Familia, separated from the basilica by a long pedestrian avenue in honour of Gaudí, the architect who conceived one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, is a modernist hospital. Another genius, Domènec i Montaner, designed a health centre at the dawn of the 20th century with the legacy of the banker Pau Gil and gave it gardens, walkways and pavilions to tackle different medical specialties, ornamented with ceramics and round shapes inspired by nature, one of the main characteristics of modernism. The centre took the name of its patron and was called Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.
A few years ago, a new centre was built and the old building was recycled for exhibitions, official bodies and cultural events. For me it is a sentimental visit since I worked in the hospital for several years and trained to be a medical photographer, before deriving my career towards photojournalism. Olympus organized the Perspective Playground in one of its pavilions and will be the perfect setting to test the possibilities of the OM-D EM-1 Mark II to the limit.