The focus of our final photography project was, of course, Madrid. More than simply portraying the city, though, we had to show Madrid through the eyes of another artist. The professor gave us the choice of three men—Pedro Almodovar, Francisco de Goya, or Earnest Hemingway—who have all spent a significant amount of time in Madrid. For these artists, Madrid influenced them just as the city experiences their presence today.
I chose Goya, the famous Spanish painter, because I thought that the man whose ideas have existed the longest would be the easiest to depict. This, though, was one of the biggest difficulties of the project. We had to photograph things that weren’t really there. Pursuing Goya’s Madrid turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. With a New York Times audio guide of Goya-related locations as my project road map, I made my way around the city, doing my best to document the artist’s essence. Unfortunately, many Goya locations, such as museums and churches, prohibited photography. My photo collection in tribute to the artist is not as balanced as I would have liked, specifically lacking people interacting with ideas of Goya today. Given the restrictions, however, I feel that I was able to successfully convey a feel for the artist, albeit somewhat literally.
A larger-than-life bust of Francisco de Goya looks out over Madrid, Spain from the San Isidro Park on May 1, 2016. Goya painted landscapes of the San Isidro meadows in both his light and dark periods.
A man seeking financial assistance sits in a sunny crosswalk at Calle de Goya in Madrid, Spain on April 14, 2016. Francisco de Goya often found inspiration for his work in social class divides.
Members of the Spanish Civil Guard march along Calle Mayor in the Dos de Mayo parade in Madrid, Spain on May 2, 2016. Two of Francisco de Goya’s most famous works, The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808, commemorate the events of Spanish rebellion against the French occupation.
A tapestry of the Royal Coat of Arms of Spain decorates the reception area of the Royal Palace of Madrid on April 18, 2016. The Royal Tapestry Factory, where this hanging was produced, also converts many of Francisco de Goya’s paintings from canvas to tapestry.
A young girl recedes from observation of Francisco de Goya’s The Sermon of Saint Bernardino of Siena in the Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, Spain on April 27, 2016. Goya placed himself in this painting, as he did in many of his other works, garnering a reputation for direct and indirect self-portraits.
A man considers postcard replications of some of Francisco de Goya’s most famous works in the Prado National Museum in Madrid, Spain on May 10, 2016. The Prado Museum is home to many Goya masterpieces.
The photographer reveals herself in the mirrors of the Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, Spain on April 27, 2016. The church houses one of Francisco Goya’s own self-portraits, The Sermon of Saint Bernardino of Siena.
A cherub light fixture hangs from the frescoed ceiling of the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida in Madrid, Spain on May 6, 2016. Not only did Francisco de Goya paint the ceilings of this chapel, but it is also the site where he is buried.
Goya’s signature, etched in stone, peeks through the fencing around his commemorative statue on Paseo de la Florida in Madrid, Spain on May 6, 2016. The statue honors Goya across the street from his burial site in the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida.
A bird rests on top of the head of a statue of Francisco de Goya in Madrid, Spain on May 6, 2016. The statue, located across the street from Goya’s burial site in the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida, celebrates the artist’s skill and talent.
A family picnics in the San Isidro Park in Madrid, Spain on May 1, 2016. Though different than what would have been observed two hundred years ago, Francisco de Goya painted visitors of the San Isidro meadows early in his career.
The title of an etching by Francisco de Goya trims the base of the Goya statue that guards an entrance to the Prado National Museum in Madrid, Spain on May 10, 2016. The nightmare that befalls Goya in this etching, El sueño de la razón produce monstrous, or The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, is of the corruption of the Spanish society of his time.
Based off of an assignment that my professor completed for the New York Times, the second feature of the project was that it was to be executed like a real photojournalist’s assignment. As if our photos were to be seen in a publication accompanying a travel text, we had to submit 12 photos, complete with journalistic captions, to our professor who role-played as editor of the publication. From my 12 photos, and the 12 photos each from the three other students in the Goya group, he curated a collection that best represented Goya’s Madrid.
The final print of the collage-like compilation hung outside of our program director’s office for our peers to observe. Four of the ten photos that my teacher chose to represent Goya are my work, including the cover photo of the collection. The balance between my perspective and those of my fellow group members’ made for a very cohesive and diverse product that we are all proud of.
You can check out the other groups’ work on our class blog.