Though nothing is ever as charming and as satisfying as the original, my photojournalism classmates and I were tasked with producing Humans of Madrid. Based off of the humorous, heart-breaking, and humbling Humans of New York, I had to seek out the most interesting souls in Madrid and share their stories for all of Instagram to see (#usachumansofmadrid). As a photography student, looking the part with an obtrusive camera hanging from my neck, I did not have a problem snapping photos of the people of Madrid. The flaw in the execution, however, was communication.
Though slightly more daunting in a foreign country, I was not uncomfortable approaching someone and presenting my scripted question, “¿Puedo hacer tu foto para mi clase de fotographía?” Somewhat more difficult was asking them to share interesting or personal information to a complete stranger who now also had their photo. If you found success after the first two steps of the process, it was all for nothing if you could not comprehend their response. Understanding my subjects’ stories was the most difficult part of the assignment for me. I did not mind interacting with strangers, but so much of this interaction got lost in translation. I wish I had a greater knowledge of Spanish, like some of my classmates, for deeper, more intimate quotes and anecdotes to accompany their photographs. Because I did not have the language comprehension ability to simply approach a person and ask for an interesting fact about themselves or what they did that day, I had to use my surroundings and create settings where I could utilize my environment to deliver the appropriate amount of depth with my captions.
This assignment, though at times frustrating, was interesting, entertaining, and in the end, a welcome challenge. I got to practice my Spanish, as well as exercise my creativity. Below are the photos and captions of some of my Humans of Madrid. Check back on my Photojournalism page for more strangers, without stories, coming soon from my biggest photo project yet!