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5 posts from July 2012


Summer 2012 Photography Workshop: Part 5

This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared.

Here's a look at the area 22 of Barcelona.

 CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012

Tory, Princeton University:

Image1The first picture depicts an apartment building in the 22@ district, and the second picture shows a modern office building behind a brick wall covered in graffiti. While I don’t quite understand the imagery on the first building, I thought it demonstrated a possible negative reaction to the development of the area. It is also not the type of decoration that modern, developed neighborhoods would typically want adorning their buildings.

The second image shows the meeting between the old and the new. The tall, modern, industrial building represents everything the 22@ district is striving to become, while the graffiti represents a disgruntled people trying to express themselves. Graffiti is typically associated with the lower class, and doesn’t seem to belong in the same frame as the modern office building.

I feel that the stark contrast demonstrated by this combination illustrates that the development of the 22@ district has not respected the style of the old. While the area may now be more affluent, the buildings don’t match. Office buildings are modern, but apartment buildings still appear old and run down. I originally went out with the intention of photographing the new, but it was the old that caught my eye. The old has character, while the new additions (other than the Torre Agbar) look just like office buildings in any other city. I feel that this shows a lack of respect for the culture of the area.

Tom, George Washington University:


Artistically speaking, I’m pretty sure this picture is terrible, but I do think that the wall captured in the shot is interesting.  It is difficult to see, but this is a wall of one of the buildings right next to the university, and there is ivy being grown on parallel metal wires (these are what form the faint diamonds).  Ivy is generally grown on old buildings, ones that are established and often have some sort of historical prestige.   This building is clearly new though (and still for sale), and the ivy hasn’t had enough time to grow – it is barely four feet up from ground level.  It will be many years before it manages to cover the rest of the wires (which cover the entire five-storey building).  I feel like this represents well the fact that the 22@ District project is still a work in progress, and that the locals of Barcelona may learn to love it, but that it will take a great deal of time.  Image1My second photo captures this same idea in a sort of similar way.  Instead of ivy, though, the subject of interest is graffiti.  This graffiti is on the barricades of what will become a construction site in coming weeks – it is interesting to note that construction hasn’t even begun here yet though.  At least in cities in the US, graffiti typically shows up on buildings and other structures that have been abandoned and left out of disuse, not ones that have yet to be built.  It is as if before it has even been created, this building has already been christened an old staple of the neighborhood.  I also like that there are (by chance) a group of older people walking in one direction, and a young person on a motor scooter speeding off in the other – this could almost be a representation of the opposite pulls towards traditionalism and modernism happening in Poblenou.


Peter, Providence College:

Image1The first structure I noticed when I first stepped out of the metro was the Torre Agbar building, which was a 28 floor building which is used for business and has the head offices to the Barcelona Water Corporation. This building is really the most noticed building of this district because it is one of the tallest buildings in Barcelona. Opened in 2005, Torre Agbar is a relatively new building and really brings a modern architectural style to this area. This is one of my favorite buildings because of its unique look and totally different style than any building in the area. I think these changes are necessary because its really developing the area. With the construction of these buildings, there is more work environments in areas that are not as populated which helps develop the city. Image1The second structure I noticed was the Telecommunications Market Commission which is another building created for business. This building had a unique appearance which also incorporates aspects of older buildings; the center of the building is from the old Can Tiana factory, which is used as an auditorium as well as big business meetings. I think this use of old structures is very interesting and shows that the modern architects want to try to preserve old structures so they do not appear to be ruining the area.

Image1 The Last area I thought conveyed great innovation and technological advances in district 22@ was the Villa Casas Foundation. This building showed great modern innovation with the use of the open space in front of the building, and the sleek design shown. In all, I think its beneficial that Barcelona’s government is funding projects to expand this area and innovate it as they are. I think this is necessary for business and more suitable for the growing population in Barcelona.

 All the photos from the Summer 2012 photography workshops:


Summer 2012 Photography Workshop: Part 4

This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared.

This was a study in comparing old and new. The area 22 of Barcelona (known as 22@) is full of old industrial buildings, most of which are unused. Over the past 10 years the area has been revitalized and turned into a center for modern offices and buildings. The architecture is a contrast of old and new, with modern structures, rehabilitated and crumbling buildings sharing a space. Here's what the students found:

 CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012

Joe, Princeton University:

Joe DeQuinzio 2
Joe DeQuinzio

These two photos were taken in the same spot inside the courtyard of Universidad Pompeu Fabra. One shot depicts a modern landscape with mostly tall and narrow buildings, which are built from metal and consisting of many windows. The only hint of the past found in this shot is the stone pillar cascading high into the sky, but still its tip looks to be covered by some type of metal. The other shot was taken simply after turning around, and it is so vastly different in terms of aesthetical appearance it is hard to believe I have not taken any steps. This photo shows two stone buildings much older in appearance, and looking at the shorter building you can see a change in the type of stone indicating that at some point in the past an addition was added. 

I found this courtyard to be a rather nostalgic example of how well modern and past architectural styles can interact to magnificent effect. It seems that the university was very calculated and particular when developing the modern addition, but of course in other places of the 22@ district the new does not always mesh with the old so well. Sometimes the colorful modern buildings look almost like a sore thumb against the short, more natural colored structures of old.

On the whole, I think the development process that has been undergone is a good thing. At the simplest level, it livens up the area and brings a distinct character to the buildings, which cannot be found anywhere else in Barcelona (even if a lot of people think that the modern structures are ugly). The most import thing to remember as the development continues is proper planning. The reason the special interactions between old and new works so well in Universidad Pompeu Fabra is because the new buildings were properly designed and executed.


Amanda, Hobart & William Smith Colleges:


1) As I entered the Innovation district of Barcelona I was blown away by a lot of the modern architecture.  But, as the class was being shown the Vila-Casas Foundation, which is part of the districts public spaces and cultural venues, a building across the street caught my attention.  It is an apartment building and is most often referred to as the Modern Blue Building.  This picture is a perfect example that reflects the current status of the neighborhood, which is a jumble of very modern buildings in the center of worn down neighborhoods.  This is obviously a very new and expensive building to live in and as you can see it is next to a very old building that currently is not in use and a parking lot filled with graffiti that represents the old neighborhood.  It appears these two completely different lifestyles with those who are comfortable and have money with those who do not “co-exist” in the same space but couldn’t be more distant from each other.  In this case I do not like the change as it feels like those who are better off are flaunting what they have, quite literally in the faces and within the blocks of the people who had previously lived their.  In addition I do not think this structure had respected the space that existed before because the architect did not even bother to try and include the surroundings into his design or have a park built to better the area.  It was just a high-class building stuck on a plot of land with out any care for the prior residents.  Widening the gap between the old and the new and driving a stake of resentment further between the people.


2) This picture is from the inner courtyard of the University in Barcelona 22@.  It depicts a modern building reflecting the older history of the area through the buildings that stand opposite to it.  In this situation I believe that the changes in this part of the neighborhood are positive because it reflects on past structures with pride and dignifies them to be great and standing alongside of the new buildings.  This demonstrates a great deal of respect for the neighborhood that stood before it shown by the fact that the University did not just decide to tear everything down and start over with strictly modern buildings.  It honors the past neighborhood and is a great integration of new technology into this area without stepping on the wealthy or less fortunate’s toes because there is a symbol of each side in this area.  This symbolizes that these two sides can respect each other and live together in a good way.  The contrast between old and new does not live separate from each other in this space, the new building honors the old through a giant mirror that takes focus away from itself, yet still has an amazing quality of doing so, which makes its modesty that much more impressive. In conclusion, this neighborhood for the most part has not really made a smooth transformation to a technology districts as in most cases the modern buildings are either replacing the old or are erected next to an older one not giving it any chance to be appreciated.  With that said I do believe there is a way to have both types of buildings co-exist positively, which I found in one place of the technology district, the University.


A video of all the photography workshop pieces:


Summer 2012 Photography Workshop: Part 3

This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared:

 CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012

  Lauren, University of Pitsburg:


I had no idea what to expect when I ventured to Spain. There have been so many people doing things that I am certainly not used to. However, there were two very specific actions that completely blew my mind.

The human towers were like nothing I’d ever imagined seeing. I had been a cheerleader in high school and thought I had seen some impressive pyramids of people. The human towers completely put those all to shame. I could not believe the ease with which they mounted the towers nor the heights they reached. I have a fear of heights but I find them rather exhilarating. It really moves me to see people be fearless and free.

Additionally, I saw flamenco dancers. I have been dancing since I was four years old. Dance speaks to me in a very special way. I really enjoy watching others perform. Though, I have seen many different styles of dance live, this was my first time seeing Flamenco. I loved it. It is very indicative of the culture here. I took pictures of both of these miraculous events to capture the moment. I was truly blown away by the people and their different culture.

Rob, Texas Christian University:


The amount of motorcycles in Barcelona has been a huge culture shock for me.  Everyone drives big trucks where I am from in Texas so I have been very confused to see motorcycles speeding around everywhere.  It makes a lot of sense though in this crowded metropolitan culture and it also saves a lot of gasoline to ride on a motorcycle.  I also liked this photo because it shows a traditional Calle in Barcelona.  The streets look much different over here in Spain, and we are used to the two way roads.


I really enjoyed this photo because this shows the hills of Barcelona.  This is much different then the streets of San Antonio, where I am from.  San Antonio is a very flat city and seeing a one-way street that is on a hill like this is a huge culture shock.  It also shows how narrow the streets are here, we have 6 lane highways in Texas, where as most of the roads here are very narrow. 

A slideshow with all the photos from these workshops:



Summer 2012 Photography Workshop: Part 2

This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared:

 CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012

Sophia, Unviersity of Colorado Boulder:

Sophia Serena Varga
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."


Maggie, Columbia University:


Margaret D'Arcy

Megan, Fordham University:

Meghan Donohue

"Pequeños Recordatorios de la Vida" -Meghan

Cuando estábamos en el parque, me sentí abrumado por la belleza de la naturaleza.  Hay árboles, flores, fuentes, y arbustos muy bonitos.  Parecía que no existe nada más que la naturaleza.  Pero cuando estaba caminando por el parque, me di cuenta de pequeñas señales de vida.  En el foto primero, hay una pluma perdida de un pájaro.  En el foto segundo, una pequeña colonia de hormigas, casi invisible en un parque tan grande.  Finalmente, hay una estatua bonita cuya cara está cubierta por una tela de arañas.    Estas señales sirvieron como recordatorios que en este parque tranquilo, no sólo era la naturaleza y yo, pero había muchos seres vivos dependientes de este medio ambiente.



Summer 2012 Photography Workshop: part 1

This summer, our receptionist Mar (who is also a professional photographer) led photography workshops as part of the classes they were taking. We wanted to share a few of the stories and photographs that students shared:

 CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Summer 2012

Ani, Yale University: Ani Sefaj  

Ani Sefaj
Grace, Princeton University:

GraceSMurphy_foto2"Interacción entre los Sentidos

            ¿Cómo puede una fotografía expresar más que una imagen? Eso es lo que trata de hacer Duane Michals, el fotógrafo quien saca fotos para contar una historia. Usando capciones debajo de sus imágenes, él usa lo visual para expresar algo no visual sino del otro sentido. La fotografía también representa una serie de eventos en la línea de tiempo que continua, dura, sigue, y quizá repite, aunque solo vemos un parte del cuento en un instantánea de tiempo. Entonces, mezcla lo que podemos ver—la imagen—con lo que no podemos ver—el tiempo.

            Pensando en esto, traté también a expresar algo no visual por una fotografía. En mi primer imagen, uso las curvas de la cuerda de metal para dar forma al sonido del instrumento del ángel. ¿Cómo se puede simbolizar el sonido de una trompa visualmente? Creo que las curvas libres pero vivas y con ritmo expresa el sonido exactamente. Además, ¿cómo se puede simbolizar la rectitud de pensamientos en un momento de claridad y racionalidad perfecta? Creo que las paredes, rectos, blancos, y con ángulos exactos, expresan este sentido cuando hay orden y balanza en la mente, cuando sabes exactamente su lugar en el mundo. Entonces, uso capciones como las usa Michals, pero no exactamente para contar un cuento. Mi interpretación es más teorética. Las capciones mezclan la imagen con el sonido, la imagen con los pensamientos, como Michals mezcla la imagen con el paso de tiempo."

A slideshow with all the photos from these workshops: