Vacation in Barcelona: some thoughts on travel photography

Photography is a hobby for me. While I was asked on occasion to do paid work, such as event photography, I purposely decline. I already have a day job, and I don’t want to turn my artistic outlet into a commercial endeavor. In other words, I like my freedom to say “No” and I like retaining my creative freedom.

I upload my photographs to Flickr and release them under creative commons license. My intention is to contribute my unique view of the world with the hope that it will be useful.

View from Montjuic

This summer we went on a family vacation to Spain. We spent a week in Barcelona, and a week in Salou. I took over a thousand photographs. As I sort through them in Lightroom and try to decide what to upload to Flickr, I can’t help but wonder what exactly is unique about my photos? Would another picture of Montjuic or Sagrada Familia improve the world?

The ceiling inside Sagrada Familia
View of Barcelona from the Sagrada Familia Passion Tower

The question is what does travel photography mean to me. Perhaps, the main reason I take photographs while traveling is to retain a little piece of the scenery. I often say that if I went somewhere new and didn’t bring my camera, I might as well stay home. Family and close friends want regular updates — modern technology allows me to share what’s interesting to me in almost real time.

View from my brother’s apartment in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Some sights are indeed unique to my perspective. My brother lives in Barcelona and a visit to his apartment afforded a unique view of the Gothic Quarter.

Roman wall in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, a few steps away from my brother’s apartment

And finally, we all have a need to share photographs only to preserve a moment that would otherwise be forgotten. One doesn’t need to share all photos with the general public, not even with your close friends and family. We don’t need to share all of our photographs at all, and that is ok too. Perhaps, merely having a collection of photos to remember a moment is what we all hope to attain when we travel.

A couple hoping to remember a moment in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

When writing this post I couldn’t help but think of the Tumblr post by Ed Yourdon entitled “Photographing places you’ll never visit again.”

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