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The Decisive Moment

by Elena on May 6, 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson believed in what he called le moment decisif, the decisive moment that allows the photographer only a fraction of a second to capture.  He helped popularize photojournalism with his street photography and the way in which he captured ‘real life.’  Cartier-Bresson is most definitely one of my favorite photographers, and an influencing factor behind most photojournalists today.  It takes a patient and discriminating eye to capture the decisive moments he took below:

Henri Cartier-Bresson - MadridHenri Cartier-Bresson - BrusselsHenri Cartier-Bresson - Calle CuauhtemoctzinHenri Cartier-Bresson - Hyères, FranceHenri Cartier-Bresson - Dessau

Photos © Henri Cartier-Bresson

JPG Magazine is holding a contest in honor of Cartier-Bresson.  Submissions must be inspired by the French photographer and the winner gets to attend the MOMA exhibit in NYC and have their experience published in JPG.  My submission is a picture taken of my grandparents, a typical moment of my grandmother buttoning up my grandfather’s jacket, to keep him warm on his daily walk.

Bundle Up

Inspired by the contest and the exhibit, I dusted off an old flash drive and played around with a few of my photos to see how Cartier-Bresson has influenced my images.  I can only hope that I came even inches closer to the way Cartier-Bresson captured the everyday and spectacular moments of people’s lives.

IMGP4715 copyDSC00725IMGP4099DSC08536DSC01105_1 copy

Photos © Elena Vazquez

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Weekly Photo: Small Town Galicia

by Elena on April 22, 2010

Disappearing GaliciaSmall towns across Galicia are left deserted as their inhabitants make their way to the cities where jobs are more plentiful.

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Weekly Photo: Mothers of Plaza de Mayo

by Elena on April 14, 2010

Abuelas de Plaza de MayoEvery Thursday you will find women with white scarves tied around their heads marching around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires.  The white scarves symbolize baby blankets, in memory of the lost children of the Dirty War.  During this war, people mysteriously “disappeared,” and were often tortured and then killed.  The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo met in an effort to find their missing sons and daughters.  The mothers have since turned into grandmothers, and while the motives have changed over the years, you can be certain to see women marching on Thursday.Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo

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Submit To Fotografia

by Elena on April 12, 2010

Fotografia MagIt has always been a desire of mine to start an online publication.  As far back as middle school, I met with some other leotard wearing, grade schoolers and we planned the possibility of starting a zine (the first inclinations of a nerdy future).  Zines are small scale print publications usually with an eccentric and unique edge, reflected directly from its contributors and editors.  Blogs are similar to zines because most are self-published, personal, and done on a small scale with limited readership (I’m not talking about the Huffington Posts of the web).

Online media has grown dramatically the past couple of years and I have toyed around with starting an online project for some time now.  The past couple of weeks I finally put together my project, Fotografia Magazine, an online magazine/ zine/ project that features the work of photographers, giving them a chance to promote themselves and their photography.

Seeing as Gringa Española is focused on travel, photography, and new media, I figured some readers with similar interests would be interested in submitting some of their compelling, travel photography.  It is a great way to promote your website and your work.  On Fotografia there is always a link back to the photographer’s portfolio or website, driving traffic back to you.  Fotografia is a new site, but I hope it will grow quickly!

Anyone who would like to submit their photography are more than welcome to do so.  In your submission you must include the following:

  • Title of work
  • Place of capture (if applicable)
  • Link to your website or online portfolio
  • Year picture was taken

One of the reasons I wanted to start an online magazine is because of the opportunity you get to discover new artists and photographers.  One of these photographers is Stephanie Mackenzie whose work you can see at Deka Photography.

Stephanie Mackenzie - Deauville

Image via: Deka Photography

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The New and Glossy People of Blogland

by Elena on April 1, 2010

Death of Print

Have you canceled your magazine subscriptions?  Are magazines starting to send you their glossy pages for free?  I smell anxiety, but this is no surprise to many people in the publishing world.  I seem to rattle on about the subject quite a bit, but as a writer I can’t help but obsess about every article that comes out on the subject.

Yesterday The New York Times featured an article on its front page about The Rising Stars of Gossip Blogs.  When people hear gossip writing, many raise their noses in the air, like they once did, or still do, about blogging.  But these same haughty nosed people may beg, steal, or borrow to have the type of success some of these gossip bloggers have had.  The article’s author Alex Williams comments on the tipping point when bloggers went from people airing their dirty laundry on the web, to people pursuing a real writing career.

The lines between “reporter” and “blogger,” “gossip” and “news” have blurred almost beyond distinction. No longer is blogging something that marginalized editorial wannabes do from home, in a bathrobe, because they haven’t found a “real” job. Blogging now is a career path in its own right, offering visibility, influence and an actual paycheck.

The elusive paycheck, however isn’t what drives many a blogger, especially in this new and shiny blogland where a lot of online magazines and blogs don’t have the money to pay writers for their work.  On the other hand, the online landscape is opening up lots of other doors for people to be innovative and create opportunities for themselves.  Like a lot of other careers it takes a mix of talent and luck, with the scales tipping to one side more than the other depending on the person.

Although the article focuses on gossip blogs, the same can be said about all types of blogs.  Bloggers and blogging sites have changed publishing in ways that makes even The New York Times suffer.  Remember when The Times decided that it will start to charge it’s readers?  Now they feature on their online frontpage, an article about the very people who have severely cramped traditional media’s style.  Isn’t it ironic, in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word, that many of these nontraditional writers/bloggers rise to success without so much as stepping in a newsroom?

Image via: cuttlefish

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Galicia Photo Journal

by Elena on March 26, 2010

Galicia CoastlineGaliciaGalicia Ourense StreetGalicia Ourense PlazaGalicia CastrosGalicia CoastGalicia OceanGalicia Church

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Weekly Photo: Plaza Mayor Madrid

by Elena on March 17, 2010

Madrid Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor is always packed with people wandering around taking pictures or sitting down for a drink.  It is as much touristy as it is beautiful, which explains the exorbitant prices for a cafe con leche and tapas, but the Plaza Mayor still merits a visit, just go for tapas elsewhere.   We saw many people drinking a bottle of wine underneath the statue of King Phillip III, and while the practice of drinking in public (the botellon) is quite popular, it is still very much illegal, so do so at your own risk. Madrid Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor is the main plaza in Madrid and is situated just a few blocks away from the Puerta del Sol, the busy square that marks the official starting point for Spain’s national roads.  The plaza is surrounded by residential buildings with balconies overlooking the plaza.  If you look closely to certain buildings, you will see painted façades.Madrid Plaza Mayor

Interested in Madrid hotels, check out Simon Seeks.

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Gallego Town Names

by Elena on March 11, 2010

Here are a few of the unusual town names I have come across.

The Girl From Up There
Ella Da Riba
The Girl From Up There
The Girl From Down There
Ella De Baixo
The Girl From Down There Dogs
Cans
Dogs Garlic From Down There
Noallo De Abaixo
Garlic From Down There

And my favorite of them all is….
Pair of Blonds
Par de RubiasPair of Blonds

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Bit of Advice

by Elena on March 9, 2010

Often times Spaniards put up decorative plates like the one below with little musings about life and love.  This one in particular caught my eye.  A bit of advice from the wall of a friend of a friend living in a small town in Galicia.

Gallego – Cando te n’amores depois non chores.
Espanol – Cuando te enamores despues no llores.
English – When you fall in love don’t cry about it later.

Bit o Advice

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Markets and Octopus in Galicia

by Elena on March 8, 2010

There are many images and smells in Galicia that bring me back to my summers in Spain as a child.  The little things that people see, smell, hear, and taste which combined you can’t find anywhere else.  Things like the bunches of chorizos hanging from the ceiling of our pantry or tossed on the side of a truck ready to sell to people shopping the local market.  The smell of octopus boiling in large pots, hardening and softening in the burgundy stained water before the vendor pulls one out with a hook.  The loud bellow of the delivery man’s horn when he drives thro  ugh town each morning to deliver everyone their bread.  Even the white powder of the salted cod that needs to soak in water until the salt that once preserved this big fish slowly seeps out so it‘s suitable to eat.  These are the things I remember well, the little things that continue each day, when I leave, when I return, and when I leave again.
This past week was the feria do pulpo, and people come around with the same purpose, to buy and eat octopus.  Although in the rainy winter when the surrounding towns lack people and the desire to leave ones home, there isn’t much ambiente a very important quality that adds people, movement, and life (vida).  This day there were mostly men with salt and pepper hair just above their ears and nowhere else that came to eat pulpo at the local bar with their friends.  They talk sports I imagine or something else like their pesky wives, their wine, and the reminiscences of stories when their bodies allowed them much more than mere talk about  past adventures.
The pulpeiro let us try the pulpo and it was soft and flavorful having lost all the toughness that it had before cooking.  Once cut with sharp scissors you drizzle olive oil on top of the pulpo and then sprinkle some Spanish paprika and rock salt and it’s ready to eat.

There are many images and smells in Galicia that bring me back to my summers in Spain as a child.  The little things that people see, smell, hear, and taste which combined you can’t find anywhere else.  Things like the bunches of chorizos hanging from the ceiling of our pantry or tossed on the side of a truck ready to sell to people shopping the local market.  The smell of octopus boiling in large pots, hardening and softening in the burgundy stained water before the vendor pulls one out with a hook.  The loud bellow of the delivery man’s horn when he drives thro  ugh town each morning to deliver everyone their bread.  Even the white powder of the salted cod that needs to soak in water until the salt that once preserved this big fish slowly seeps out so it‘s suitable to eat.  Chorizos in Galicia Spain

Bacalao Salted Cod in Galicia SpainThese are the things I remember well, the little things that continue each day, when I leave, when I return, and when I leave again.

Pulpo Octopus in Galicia Spain

This past week was the feria do pulpo, and people come around with the same purpose, to buy and eat octopus.  Although in the rainy winter when the surrounding towns lack people and the desire to leave ones home, there isn’t much ambiente a very important quality that adds people, movement, and life (vida).  This day there were mostly men with salt and pepper hair just above their ears and nowhere else that came to eat pulpo at the local bar with their friends.  They talk sports I imagine or something else like their pesky wives, their wine, and the reminiscences of stories when their bodies allowed them much more than mere talk about  past adventures.

Pulpo Octopus in Galicia SpainPulpo Octopus in Galicia Spain

The pulpeiro let us try the pulpo and it was soft and flavorful having lost all the toughness that it had before cooking.  Once cut with sharp scissors you drizzle olive oil on top of the pulpo and then sprinkle some Spanish paprika and rock salt and it’s ready to eat.

Pulpo Octopus in Galicia SpainPulpo a la Gallega

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Weekly Photo: Pulpeiro in Galicia

March 4, 2010

Pulpeiro is a person who sells pulpo (octopus). This market was outside Ourense, Galicia.

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Salar de Uyuni Guide

February 25, 2010
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Tweet Nothing like a huge, salt desert high up in the mountains of Bolivia to remind you just how cold it can get.  The expanse of white looks like a huge field of snow, and in the middle of the night it might as well be.  It is cold.  You have been warned. We booked […]

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Weekly Photo: The Stone Tree In Bolivia

February 24, 2010
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Wind and sand formed the Stone in the middle of the Bolivian Altiplano.

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Talking to Strangers From All Over The World

February 23, 2010
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Tweet Too scared to try the Chatroulette site on my own, I enlisted the company of my cousin to test out the site that everyone was talking about last week.  We were aware of what to expect after reading our fair share of first hand accounts.  Although Nick Bilton from the New York Times is […]

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The Strange and Creepy World of Social Media

February 19, 2010
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Tweet Everyday there are new ways to communicate with one another, besides actually sitting in front of someone in person and having an actual conversation.  New social networks pop up each month and frankly it’s hard to keep up.  This past week alone Google Buzz and Chat Roulette made their way into our online world. […]

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Free Museums In New York City

February 18, 2010
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Tweet New York City is a mecca of culture, art, music, and society, where you can brush elbows with artists and creatives in one of the many museums, theaters, or galleries that the city has to offer.  Unfortunately for many however, New York City is also a mecca for those paying high rent, a high […]

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Weekly Photo: Modern Art at MOMA New York City

February 18, 2010
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Enjoying modern art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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Mexico Plans To Restrict Social Networking

February 16, 2010
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Tweet Imagine you wake up one morning and suddenly there are restrictions on your Facebook account.  Think of the upheaval when Facebook merely changed its landing page and design, what do you think would happen if users couldn’t sign in at all.  Most people would freak out because let’s face it, there is something about […]

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Machu Picchu’s Uncertain Future

February 13, 2010
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Tweet A couple weeks ago, floods and mudslides forced over 3,900 tourists to flee the area.  Most were flown out by helicopter because the flooding destroyed the trail system that people use to go to and from Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes. Machu Picchu remains closed to tourists and will stay that way until the […]

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Weekly Photo: Giant Chess In Geneva

February 11, 2010
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Play giant chess in Promenade des Bations in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Why I Love Freelancing

February 10, 2010
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Tweet After last week’s phantom snowstorm, I had some doubts about the impending nor’easter making it’s way up the East Coast to the Tri-State area.  Even last night at around 2am, while I was impatiently waiting like a 4th grader hoping for a day off from school, still no snow.  But alas I woke up […]

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Aventure At Any Age

February 8, 2010
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Tweet Image via: NY Times The stereotype for hostel life and adventure travel usually entails a large group of fresh-faced kids in their twenties with an oversize backpack peaking over their heads.  Backpacker life is changing, however, like Nomadic Matt discusses in his post about backpackers turning into flashpackers.  In the past you may have […]

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What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

February 3, 2010
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Tweet If you had one day to live, what would you do?  Would you climb a mountain?  Would you kiss the person of your dreams?  Would you tell someone how you really feel?  Now, if you had a whole lifetime to live, would you lose that drive?  Or would your list just keep getting longer? […]

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Weekly Photo: Greek Soldier in Athens

February 2, 2010
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The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, Greece.

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Beyond The Hype: Can Technology Save The Day?

January 27, 2010

Tweet Lately I’ve been spending lots of time reading and writing about the changing media landscape.  My nerdy inclinations find the topic endlessly fascinating, and I’m not the only one.  Everyone is talking about the future of publishing, and hypothesizing how things will change. This past weekend I wrote a post about the New York […]

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Weekly Photo: Children Playing in Cuernavaca Mexico

January 27, 2010
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Children Playing in Cuernavaca Mexico

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