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Photography

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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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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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

by Elena on March 4, 2010

Pulpo Octopus in Galicia Spain

Pulpeiro is a person who sells pulpo (octopus).  Every week, in the small towns surrounding Ourense, Galicia, there are markets where locals can buy a ration of pulpo to take home to their family.  This market is in the town of Cartelle.  People here buy the pulpo and eat it at the local bar.  The man above has been a pulpeiro for a very long time, quite the expert on these little critters.  My great-grandfather used to order octopus from him when my grandmother was a child.  He was very willing to show us his merchandise and let us taste before we made our purchase.

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Weekly Photo: The Stone Tree In Bolivia

by Elena on February 24, 2010

Stone Tree In BoliviaSouth of the Salar de Uyuni, en route to San Pedro de Altacama Chile, sits El Arbol de Piedra or the Stone Tree.  Wind and sand formed the stone structure in the middle of the Bolivian Altiplano.  Most tours of Salar de Uyuni pass through the Altiplano, one of the highest plateaus in the world.

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Weekly Photo: Modern Art at MOMA New York City

by Elena on February 18, 2010

MOMA in New York CityEnjoying modern art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

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Weekly Photo: Giant Chess In Geneva

by Elena on February 11, 2010

Giant Chess in Bastions Park Geneva Switzerland1

The Promenade des Bations in Geneva, Switzerland used to be a botanical garden, but now it is a park full of statues of important figures and event in Swiss history.  We stopped to watch a game of chess, giant chess, but were way to intimidated to consider joining in.  Although one of the spectators was friendly enough to invite us, everyone else was enthralled, ignoring the two American girls looking on.  I got to say I am curious what they do with the chess pieces at the end of the day.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they leave them there.  I felt a sense of safety in all of Switzerland, where everything seemed to run effortlessly and with almost too perfect precision.  Leaving something out in the open would never fly in Washington Square Park, another popular chess spot, where some privileged fellow would certainly snag them.

Giant Chess in Bastions Park Geneva Switzerland

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