Sarah, a student studying abroad at Universidad de Vigo in Spain, is an avid photographer. As part of her study abroad adventure, she set a goal for herself: overcome her fear of snapping photos of strangers!
I came to Spain with the idea of photographing the people. My major is a combination of Spanish and photography and I knew that my semester in Spain would be the perfect opportunity to explore and practice my interests.
There are many styles of portraiture that I admire, but my specific goal in Spain was to photograph strangers. There is something a bit intimidating about this for me and I was determined to overcome my fear.
Each time I ask someone to take their photo and they let me, I feel happy and excited. It motivated me to keep working. I now feel more confident and less shy. When I started this project, my initial idea was to take street-portraits of people, but I soon discovered that I am much happier with my candid portraits.
My favorite portrait to date is the portrait of two women sitting on the edge of a fountain in Barcelona. It was a beautiful thing to see them enjoying the sun and fully appreciating the beautiful day. I also really appreciate taking posed street-portraits of people. Although occasionally people do not feel comfortable having their photo taken, most of them are very nice when I explain my project. It’s a great way to interact with locals while traveling.
I am glad to say that I’ve learned a lot about myself as a photographer this semester; that I have learned what sort of photos I enjoy taking and what I need to improve. Each photo carries with it a memory of a time and a place, of café con leche and tortialla in Pamplona on a grey morning, of the beautiful streets of Barcelona on a sunny day, of walks by the river in Granada, the smell of fish in a Galician fish market…the list goes on.
I wish I could say that I now know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I don’t. I do know that I am incredibly passionate about Spanish culture and photography. While I knew this before my semester here, living here made my passion grow tremendously. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I have been bitten by the “living in another country bug” and I don’t think that I will recover any time soon.
Check out more of Sarah’s photos of Spain and chronicles of her study abroad experience in her personal blog, A Work in Progress.
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