Tuesday, April 13, 2010

35mm and the barcelona countdown

In four days I'll be able to cross Barcelona off my list of places I have dreamed of going to. I really can't believe that I'm finally going to walk streets I have imagined walking for so long— in my former life as a designer at a San Francisco ad agency, I would often spend a few spare minutes in my exhausting schedule to check out the ticket fares to Barcelona. The three same issues would constantly pop up as I watched the pages load: money, time and distance. San Francisco feels like the beautiful end of the earth— everything is just so far away. The time and money I needed to spend to get anywhere, was enough to make me quickly close the browser window. I was only given ten working days of vacation a year, and constantly wondered if I should I use it all at once on a big far away trip or spread it out for sanity's sake. I often worked six days a week, anywhere from 40 to 66 hours. There was little time to do anything but work, and my art suffered as a result— but I loved my job. I found a certain sense of exhilaration, meeting seemingly impossible deadlines and pleasing even more impossible art directors.

When I suddenly realised that the city I had been living in for three years was as foreign to me as a city I had never been to, it finally dawned on me that I needed a different life. The nomad inside me had run off somewhere, and my apartment was full of all these half-started paintings and drawings. I wasn't sure if I was working to live or living to work. Then came what was for me, a blessing in disguise. Like thousands of people around the world, I lost my job. The initial sense of dread and devastation started to fade as I began to finally explore San Francisco. After sending out my daily batch of resumés, I would head out the door in a different direction and start walking. As my sense of adventure returned with each new step, the nomad came back.

Two years later, and I'm living half-way across the world in one its most fascinating and beautiful cities, working on my art. I've managed to cross Prague and Budapest off my list, and this weekend, Barcelona and Granada are next. The cherry on top of this little story is that yesterday, I found out I've been accepted into a postgraduate programme in education, so I can become an international art teacher. I can't think of a more rewarding and important job in the world than that of a teacher. I never imagined my life would take me here, but I am happy it has.

To celebrate the beginning of the beginning of my new life, I'm going to take my grandad's 35mm Exakta 500 out on the town. This beautiful clunky old camera hasn't snapped a picture in decades, and I love that "Made in Germany (East)" is etched the bottom. What a lovely bit of history I get to hold in my hands today— to think this camera was made before the wall fell, and now its shutter will be opening to an ancient city in the year 2010.


Matthew Brehm said...

Congrats Samantha, on the postgrad program and on going to Barcelona!! You're going to love that city, and teaching is the best!

Chris Menice said...

Awesome! Can't wait to see what you snap with that camera.

szaza said...

Thanks Matthew!
I'm really excited for both.

Thanks Chris— it was fun fumbling around with f-stops and trying to manually focus... sure slows the whole process down and makes you think more about what you are taking. I found some black and white film for 10 lira (gasp)— let's see what happens!

Grace said...

That'a a great story! How did you manage to move in a foreign city and find work in it? It seems mythical to me.

You should visit Greece as well. You'll love it I belive, and when you do you'll remember my words :) .
After all, you are very close already.

Have fun in Spain, and bring back lots of art. I can't wait to see it!


black bear cabin said...

how wonderful for you...congrats!!! your story is very inspiring, and i enjoy your adventures...thanks for sharing :)

Javier de Blas said...

İyi bir gezi ve harika fotoğraflar!

Lindsay B. said...

Be sure to take lots of lovely pictures of all the amazing Art Nouveau architecture! It began there, ya know :-)

szaza said...

Thank you, Grace and Lisa!
Çok merci,Javier!