When I am exhausted and melancholy, I become much more sensitive to things. I find humorous things funnier and sad things more upsetting. They leave me feeling vulnerable and this is a rather interesting state of mind to shoot in.
Feeling vulnerable makes me more present. I am much more aware of my emotions, connected to them, rather than letting them pass by. My emotions are heavily linked to my eye, which of course is connected to my camera. Linking these elements together really gets me in the zone. I feel as though I am embodied in the matrix and making photographs is the objective of my mission.
Yesterday I arrived in Bilbao both hungry and sleep deprived. Having had only 2 hours sleep in 24 hours, I morphed into a zombie and staggered my way to my accommodation. There is no clearer indicator that you are now a single traveller, detached from the relationship that once was, than a top bunk single bed in an 8 person dorm. Alas, it is where I found myself. But with that there is optimism, of which I have plenty, as I am about to embark on this new chapter of my life.
The brief for this trip was simple. Take photographs, write, explore, meet people. Determined to get off on the right foot, and not allow fatigue to win the battle, I dropped off my bags and got straight out into the city.
Bilbao offers the experience that travellers have come accustomed to when visiting Spain. Coffee shops along cobbled paths, seafood restaurants plentiful, a host of bars offering a wide range of local Cerveza. It was great to be out with my camera, and for this photo walk I chose my 24-70 Nikkor to document my new surroundings.
Filled with thoughts and a sense of wanting to understand, I needed to find somewhere that allowed me to feel still.
Although a huge fan of football, when I visit a new city, going to stadiums isn’t really on my things to do list. However, I stumbled across San Mames, the home of Athletic Bilbao. It was such a grand piece of architecture, making me feel so small in comparison. As it wasn’t match day there was hardly a person in sight. There was a soft breeze and a slight chill in the air, which made the ambience feel settled. I sat down and observed this footballing theatre, both calm and connected to stillness and inner peace.
Feeling free of trouble and anxiety, I got back into the nitty gritty of the streets to get some work done, this time opting for my tried and tested 50mm.
Along this walk I found this man…
After taking a photograph of him, relating to his exhaustion, I sat beside him and started a dialogue.
The man had been up since 4 am, had done a full days work, and was catching a rest before going on to work again in the evening. I told him about my own tiredness. In response he sniggered, stating “At least don't have to go to work”. I agreed and said goodbye.
I ate dinner at a small gluten-free restaurant. Chicken in breadcrumbs (goujons if you're fancy) washed down with a pale ale. I arrived back at my hostel at 10 pm. I settled into bed, loaded up my images from the day and got on with editing. After editing my fourth image, my eyes began to close. The room became dark, and for the first in what felt like a lifetime, I fell asleep.
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