“In Priorat, the roads twist and turn through the hills and leave the sun behind. You can see it and feel it. Priorat is a world apart”
This is how Sara Perez, the woman behind Mas Martinet, describes this rich wine region in Spain, where she and her father, Jose Luis Perez, play an important role as part of the pioneers of Priorat.
In July, I was assigned by Wine Spectator Magazine to shoot the lead story of October issue about Priorat; one of the greatest wine regions in Catalan, Spain. I got a very detailed shooting list with names and addresses of the people I was about to meet and shoot. These were the pioneers of Priorat; the leading figures of the wine industry in that region. It was an intense assignment. Shooting from 7 in the morning (to capture the sunrise over the vineyard) till sometimes 9 in the evening, when the light was orange and soft. But nevertheless, it was a fun assignment, in which I have learned so much about wine and met incredible friendly people, who are proud of what they do, and obviously, proud of their wine.
This July I was assigned by Wine Spectator Magazine to shoot two stories for their October issue. One story is about Costa Dorada and the second is about Priorat Wine region in Catalan, Spain.
Costa Dorada or ‘The Golden Coast’ is only a 40 minutes drive from Barcelona and it is a perfect destination for a Summer Family vacation. It is a rich territory with a long coastline along the Mediterranean dotted by 20 colorful villages and towns, spread out between the sea and the mountains. But not only the sunny beaches and the golden sand. Vineyards, olive groves, hazel and almonds trees can also be found.
Scroll down to read more about some of the areas’ highlights and the best locations I’ve shot. (original text from article)
When I travel to a new place, there are few things I make sure to look for and find (The rest I leave for serendipity): An area where I can find great graffiti and street Art, an area where I can find people hanging their laundry outdoors and the best view of the city.
There is nothing like walking all day in the streets of a new place and then (usually at the end of the day just before sunset) climbing up a mountain, a hill, a tall tower, a bridge, the 43rd floor (in case of Manhattan) the 6th floor (in case of Montmartre in Paris) or anything that helps you see the city in a whole new different perspective. When you are up, overlooking the city, you no longer hear the traffic in the streets (you just see the cars), you don’t see the people in eye level and you don’t smell the street vendor’s food, the smoke or anything else.
It is a sort of serenity. a state of mind. (and an important addition for a Travel Portfolio)
Here are some rooftops locations from Madrid, Barcelona, Bologna, Rome, Florence, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Paris and Manhattan. If you have more recommendations, please send me a message.
Few days after I wrote this post, I was chosen by Easy Jet Holidays as one of their Bloggers of the month as they chose to feature this post on their website. Check it out and some other great inspiring bloggers.
Like a lot of things in life, this photography project started with a random image. Like a lot of times in life, sometimes you have to get away from a place in order to rediscover it. These two sentences basically initiated my on-going photography project called “Intimacy Under the Wires.”
As a street photographer based in New York City, I hardly (if ever) come across the sight of laundry hung outside windows to get dry. It was a very common thing for me to see, however, when I grew up in Israel.
I was on a holiday visit to Israel on April 2010 when it all started.
I made plans to meet a friend at the flea market in old Jaffa and he was late. While waiting for him, I wandered the quiet back streets of this old and vivid neighborhood, when a woman’s voice from an upper floor caught my attention. I looked up and saw her hanging her laundry outside the balcony. For some, it may be an ordinary chore, but I haven’t seen that since I moved to Manhattan 10 years ago. I stayed there, standing in the street under the crumbling balcony, and observed her. Few minutes after she hung her clothes, a warm breeze from the sea came by and animated them.
I just had to take a picture!
After Tel Aviv, I had a stop in London for few days, and then there was the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, so I got stuck for a week there. I used the time to walk in the streets of London and take a lot of pictures. I was in Brixton, London, when I took this image, which is one of my favorites.
I think this image made me wonder about the people who wear these clothes. I really wanted to know more about them. What they do for a living? How do they look? But mostly wanted to know about their character. So I think this image really made me think further.
From looking at someone’s laundry we can tell so much about them and their families without even meeting them. Some have all work shirts, some party dresses, some uniforms, children’s clothes, tank tops, t-shirts, sexy lingerie and so on.
Laundry is something so personal and private yet so public. Looking at laundry seems so mundane, yet when you delve into it, you realize laundry tells of people’s intimate lives. They hang their sheets, their night clothes, even their underwear for all to see. We would never expose these personal things if we were actually in them, would we?
This project, which was named by Phaidon “Intimacy Under the Wires,” is not just about laundry.
It is about the differences among the cultures, the places and the people who wear these clothes. I love traveling to different places, taking portraits of city streets and their dynamics. I often say that I don’t take people’s portraits but cities’. Since that afternoon in Israel, I am drawn to images of laundry.
In every city there is that area, usually in old neighborhoods, where laundry is hung up outdoors. It amazes me to see how laundry is similar in different countries and cultures and yet so different. When I take a picture of laundry I always make sure to relate it to its location. Whether it’s a street sign, a building, a window, I am also interested in the texture and colors of the buildings where the laundry is out to dry.
Another layer hidden or not hidden in this project, beside intimacy, is our urge toward voyeurism. We are all voyeurs. Photographers maybe more than others.
When I shoot these images, I am standing under the laundry wires and waiting for the right moment, when a breeze passes by and brings life, energy and rhythm to the clothes. I find laundry very intimate and sexy, and when I shoot, the act of looking up, is like the feeling of being under someone, unseen, a voyeur, a spy, like sitting under the boardwalk at the beach and watching people walk by, unaware. And this is actually what we photographers mostly do: spy with our cameras and tell stories with the images.
“Intimacy Under the Wires” is an on-going project. It has been featured in the following blogs: Phaidon, Design Sponge, Design Milk, Feature Shoot, Trend Hunter, aCurator
This combination of a civilized European city with a Spanish Catalan sort of rudeness made me fall in love with this city immediately. It actually already started on the plane, just before landing, when I saw the twisted spiers of La Sagrada Familia
But let’s go back a few days ago. When I was still in Barcelona.
I spent five days in Barcelona mainly for work (photography) and partly to check some options of living there for a few weeks. I did some homework to know what I want to see, though when I travel and visit another city, I hardly if ever make any plans and prefer to go with the flow and find my own way back. My only Agenda was to take on Barcelona as much as possible, eat Tapas you can’t find anywhere in the world, follow the Arts of Picasso, Gaudi and my favorite Miro and feel like I was one of the actors in one of Almadovar movies.
and my Agenda worked!
I spent most of my time in Gracia neighborhood; This magical area between Avinguda Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia. For me, Gracia was the Barcelona equivalent to the West Village in New York, so in a way, I was a bit biased.
Gracia is, without a doubt, the playground or the backyard of Gaudi. In a short radius in the neighborhood, one can find the Casa Mila, Casa Batlló and the ‘will never be completed’ church, La Sagrada Familia. My important recommendation, which is valid everywhere in Barcelona is to keep your head up and eyes open, exploring the balconies with the colorful tiles, the paintings on the buildings, the sculpted rooftops and the good looking Spanish guys walking toward you in the streets. Of course I recommend to keep your eyes open on your bags and valuables because Barcelona is well known (unfortunately) for its streets muggers.
I stayed in 987 Barcelona, a cute and well designed boutique hotel, located right on Mallorca street. Like most of the streets in this area, Mallorca is such a pictorial street. A tree-lined street with several cafe’s, and most importantly, a bakery which sells delicious home-made cakes and chocolates. Do not let the front of the hotel fool you. This is not another building in a residential neighborhood. The hotel rooms look like they came out of any European design magazine and everything is full of chic and class, as only the Catalans know. There’s nothing like waking up every morning in a room with a huge window overlooking the street and smell the bread being baked in the bakery below.
Note to self: Do not even think you can see all of Barcelona in five days, by foot. As a typical New Yorker who walks a lot, I am often amused when I see a crowded tourist bus passing down Broadway. I promised myself that when I visit a city, I would never get on a tourist bus. Well…. I couldn’t keep my promises, and I found myself one morning on one of these buses. As someone who always prefers to walk the streets, I highly recommend to ride one of these buses at least once, to explore the city.
These buses can be found on Placa de Catalunya and all bus companies offer more or less the same routes, perhaps with minor changes in ways and turns. This is an excellent opportunity to reach the hills of Barcelona, Park Guell, Tibidabo, and the area of Sarria, an old neighborhood, a little further from the center. Wandering the alleys of Sarria made me feel like I’m in a picturesque rural town from old times. It was also during the Siesta time, so maybe that’s why….
No doubt that all the wandering in the streets have increased my appetite. I was still keeping my Agenda to continue and explore Barcelona, but also explore its food and eat.
Gracia is packed with great restaurants and Tapas bars. In fact, I think most of the well-designed and high end restaurants are concentrated in this neighborhood. Unfortunately, five days were not enough to sample and taste all the places I have marked to myself as a ‘must go’ and ‘must taste’ places, but the ones I did visit, were really worth it.
Moo restaurant in Hotel Omm, Principal restaurant, which are both located near Casa Mila, were a great choice. Combining the dining with a view of the city from Casa Mila’s rooftop at dusk was a winner!
Bar Lobo, with its long communal tables was also a great choice and alternative for late lunch or an early dinner. Watching the cute waiters and the people walking by while munching on Tapas and drinking red wine is a ‘must-do’.
Barcelona, like Tel Aviv and like New York, is a nocturnal city. One phone call to a friend who lives in the city for a few years now, and I’m all set with a long list of where to go and where to hang out. One of the first tips I got from him was that the night in Barcelona starts very late. But Way very late. 2 AM in the morning is usually the time when the action is really going on. But still. Barcelona is Barcelona and the Spanish are Spanish, and I found myself at a club downtown at 2AM in the morning. Few glasses of wine, and I don’t even need to look at the time anymore.
As for shopping, there are two types of stores I always love to visit and it doesn’t matter where I travel. I always enjoy visiting Book stores (with a preference for Art Books, photography and design) and Lingerie stores (with a preference to Bras and cute underwear I don’t see in Victoria’s Secret)
I recommend Oysho, where I could find a huge range of bras, underwear and pajamas with a pampering European touch. The store is located in Passeig de Gracia, but can be found in other locations in the city.
The book store, Sant Jordi, I found at the Gothic Quarter. It is a magical store which belongs to a father and son, and gave me the feeling I was in the Cemetery of Forgotten books, as described in the book ‘The Shadow of the Wind’. The store holds Art books, photography, poetry, architecture, literature, etc. The owner, a Spanish man with an impressive knowledge, can trace any book a customer is looking for.
It is quite hard to sum up such a great trip in one post or fa ew pictures. I can still hear the rattling noise of the Tapas’ small plates, mixed with people’s laughs while walking on Mallorca Street in Gracia. Looking up just to see the Casa Milla and other beautiful buildings. I will do it again and again in a heartbeat.