#NoFilter Photos in Madrid

Oh, the lure of the Instagram filter. In a single swipe, you can give a hastily-composed, badly-lit image a dreamy vintage feel, or make the colours of a rather insipid sunset pop out of the screen. It’s fair to say that easy filters and one-touch photo editing have revolutionised the way many of us take photos, but we also risk losing the art of true photography. Not every colour has to be ramped up to full saturation; not every background needs to be soft-focus. So when London City Airport invited me to share #NoFilter photos of one of my favourite cities, Madrid, in order to get back to the roots of photography, I said yes right away. Photos are being posted by several bloggers, and will be judged by Jade Conroy of MSN Travel UK, with a prize for the best image. It was with a feeling of dread that as I searched through my rather vast photo collection, I realised my last trip to Madrid had pre-dated the acquisition of my precious DSLR camera and had been shot with a not-very-good phone camera. However, I realised that this could be important. Not everyone wants to lug a huge camera around on a city break, so perhaps I can show that it’s possible to take decent photos on a phone – without applying any filters afterwards.   1. The Angel of Gran Via Photography wisdom traditionally tells you to avoid the middle of the day for shooting photos. It’s true that the ‘golden hours’ of sunrise and sunset produce much more flattering, honeyed tones, but if you want a...

Seduced by Seville

Like the iconic flamenco dancers of this city, Seville is a tantalising temptress made up to perfection. Deep red lipstick, hair tumbling in artful waves, dress swishing beguilingly, she is a flawless beauty. Every street sign here is made and displayed with care and artistry; the buildings are tiled with Moorish designs, much like Portuguese Azulejos. Church exteriors seem to be made up of paintings pinched from the Museo de Bellas Artes. The deep Andalusian sky provides the perfect backdrop for the elegantly-painted buildings – russet and ochre, white and blue, dusky pink. I was worried that Seville was one of those places I had spent too long dreaming about, and that it wouldn’t match up in reality. But in the five minutes it took for me to walk from the bus station to the cathedral, timed serendipitously with the first rays of dawn bathing La Giralda in a pale golden light, Seville had already outdone even my most outlandish imaginings. The city had seduced me in an instant, and it was no mistaken first impression of a sleep-deprived traveller. Even after a strong coffee and a mars bar (hey, after three broken hours of sleep on a night bus, there are no rules about breakfast), Seville was still unbelievably beautiful. The grand buildings – the gothic cathedral with the famous Giralda, its Moorish tower, and the crenellated, russet-toned Alcazar Palace – bask in the adoration of tourists’  cameras, photogenic at every angle, and they transport you to worlds beyond the confines of the space and time of the modern-day city. But it’s Seville’s ordinary streets which I find even more...

Review: Familia

The Swedish filmmaker Mikael Wistrom first met the Barrientos family over 30 years ago whilst working on another film in Peru. He remained in contact with them and so heard about the hardships and tough decisions that they were facing. Knowing that their situation represented that of many Peruvian families, he returned to tell their story. Language: Spanish Country of production: Sweden Running time: 82 mins Directors: Mikael Wistrom and Alberto Herskovits Starring: Naty Barrientos Genre: Documentary Studio: Manharen film and tv – Ventana Film AB Rating: 4 stars   The Film Naty is the heart of her family. She is a mother, grandmother and devoted spouse. As the film opens, she makes the difficult decision to leave them all and travel across the Atlantic to Spain. She is at an age where she should be reaping the rewards of years spent working hard, but instead she has found a job as a maid in a Spanish hotel in order to try and ease the financial burdens on her family. The narrative voice in this documentary is provided by Naty’s daughter, Judith. She is a gentle, artistic soul who keeps a diary to cope with all the pressures surrounding her mother’s departure. She feels shame that she has not gone instead of her mother, as well as the pressure of filling her shoes.   The Review Wistrom and Herskovits have given us a unique insight into family life with an intimacy very rarely achieved on a cinema screen. The film in no way tries to give an explicit social commentary, neither does it pass judgement on the actions of...
© 2011-2015 Starry-Eyed Travels