“If in doubt, shoot!"
And with that final bit of advice, Fred Anderson led us on our GRID Cities walkabout. This second session of a three part series tookplace last Friday morning. Armed with our digital cameras, we ventured first into la Ciudad Vella, or the Old City, searching for grids, planned or unplanned. Unlike the majority of what is now Barcelona, the Old City is not laid out in a grid pattern. Rather, it's a beautiful labyrinth of small winding streets.
Yet grids abound--in the facades, storefronts, reflections, tiles, shadows, advertisements, and many more. We paused at an adorable tea shop, Caj Chai, for a break before leaving the Old City for L'Eixample. Just north-northwest of where we have class, this newer district designed for the upper class follows Cerda's grid pattern. As we had noted before, Barcelona is characterized by this balance of old and new: modern office buildings and sculptures neighbor gothic churches and romanesque statues. We also kept an eye out for color palette, contrasting scales, structural shapes against the organic, or anything that struck us as exemplary of our own personal experiences.
We spent the weekend assembling our GRID Cities pictures, assisted by the magic of Photoshop. By superimposing two or more of our photos and slightly tweaking the image, we created fantastic expressions of Barcelona as a GRID City. On Monday, April 19th, Fred joined us in class for the final session in the workshop. He had even compiled his own digital GRID photos, though admitted that he still prefers the chance and finality of the film medium. After walking us through his digital editing recommendations, he then worked one-on-one with each student, offering advice and appreciative comments on work thus far. By the end of the three hour class period, we'd assembled an impressive array of GRID Cities photographs. Though the majority of us used images from our joint walkabout where we no doubt photographed the same grids, the results were unique. This project allows for personal style and expression to emerge despite the similar pattern of assembly.
Fred praised our final renditions, but left us with a challenge. After photographing the exotic patterns of Barcelona, he encouraged us to return home and try the experiment with places that weren't as initially striking—those that we were most familiar with. So the adventure continues! Be on the look-out for an exhibition—the plan is to showcase our GRID Cities work at Carleton's new Weitz Center for Creativity this fall. I'm confident such an exhibition will be very well received.
Special thanks to Fred Anderson for his time and guidance on this fantastic endeavor!—Haley Johnson [Photo above right: Christopher Matthew Burt; center left: Geoff Myers; center right: Chisa Huges]