Madrid. My first time in Europe.

My first time in Europe. I think it was a great idea to land in Spain. Being from Perú, a country who was conquered by the Spanish in the 1500, Spain was a good start for me to have a romance with Europe. If you ever have the chance to visit Spain, don't hesitate. If you do, you will know what you have missed, specially is you are into the arts. On a photography point of view, my goal was to frame everything I wanted with a 35mm lens. I recently bought a brand new Sony A9 and it was the perfect chance for me to get used to the new features and amazing capabilities this monster mirrorless camera has to offer, before I take it to the wedding photography rodeo. Challenge accepted.

My first three days in Spain were a lil hard on me. Because of personal reasons, I decided at last minute to make the trip by myself. But it truly was the best decision I had. Coming to Madrid made me realize as a Peruvian, why I have the ways I have. Seeing the people in Madrid made me see myself to a certain degree. It was like... ah... that's why we do it in Peru as well. Those little things you cannot eve articulate in words, made me realize many things about myself and thee demeanor of the people in my country.

People are extremely warm and welcoming. I saw so much affection in the streets. Yes, affection. Something you kind of stop seeing in the US. People hug each other, couples kiss in front of everyone without the PDA syndrome. To the point that I started feeling kind of weird. It's like Spanish people really enjoy showing their feelings.

Besides that, Madrid was a very interesting exposure of many art forms. Music, paintings, among many others. Not to mention the food. Peruvian food is known to be one of the best cuisines in the world. I guess it is thanks to the Spanish influence. Which it was influenced by so many other great cultures.

I had the chance to go to the Museo Nacional Del Prado. Now, I've had the wonderful opportunity to go to wonderful museums in my country and back in NYC. But another thing is to be at an European Museum. It's just mesmerizing.

Seeing one of my absolute favorite painter of all time: Velazquez just gave the the chills. When I got into the room where Las Meninas was hanging, my eyes just watered. Even writing this gives me goosebumps because the impact that painting has in me is just ridiculous. It is such a masterpiece. And just one after the other, there is no point in snapping pictures on your camera because you just don't want to see it through the viewfinder. You just have to see it through your naked eyes. I had the wonderful opportunity to see The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, the The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest by El Greco, and the most amazing work from Master Goya. Seeing La Maja Desnuda and La Maja Vestida next to each other truly makes you cry. For me seeing Velazquez and all of the above is like putting my eyes into a rollercoaster. Jut trying to read the visual nuances and the use of light and composition makes me wanna shoot much better and improve the way I see things on a daily basis. You just cannot scape from it when you are a photographer. You are constantly framing with you naked eye, and writing with light wherever you go, whatever you do. I was there for at least five hours, but there is so much an artist can see before getting overwhelmed with so much beauty. Basically, I was binging on art. I needed to get out. 

Fortunately for me, my good friends and wonderful wedding photography/videograpahy colleagues Leandro Navall and Carolina Hernandez from Navall Films were there. So we were having so much fun doing what we love doing: shooting and filming. A full day with great laughs and packed with selfies and making what are now wonderful memories. We walked quite a bit that day, went through copious bottles of water and fantastic tapas.

I remember that night I came back to my Airbnb pretty late. My goal was to wake up really early and go to Segovia. Unfortunately, due to my unwelcomed jet lag, I passed out around 5am and woke up at 1pm. Totally missed the train and there went my plans to shoot the famous Alcazar of Segovia and the Roman Aqueducts. Whatever. Fortunately for me, the Picasso exhibit was open at the Museo de la Reina Sofía. And it was SO worth it.

I've seen some Picassos before, but being able to see La Guernica sets the whole thing to a new level. This mural-sized oil painting on canvas was completed in June 1937, at Pablo Picasso's home in Paris. The painting was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country Village in Northern Spain, by the Nazi's and the Italian Fascists airplanes at the request of Francisco Franco and the Nationalist movement. The painting, which uses a palette of gray, black, and white, is regarded by many art critics as one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history. In my opinion, Pablo Picasso's most amazing masterpiece. And he truly has/had so many others. I came to see this painting three times while I was at the museum. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to photograph it, and quite honestly I would have done no justice in doing it when seeing it in front of you is way better.

So many things to talk about Madrid. You should definitely must experience it yourself. But for now, enjoy the images.