We want to share with you something a bit different here: the story of our Photo Weekender
adventure in Spain last month!
The Photo Weekender is the genius idea of all-round superstar street photographer Polly Rusyn. She organises meet ups for long weekends in some really beautiful places, and teaches her street photography skills in an accessible, fun way.
It was an absolute treat to leave the chilly damp autumn British climate behind, and to bask in the warmth of Seville. Phil and I arrived a day early, which gave us time to settle in to our quirky little AirBnB, get our bearings, and for me to practice my Spanish: Una cerveza grande, por favor!
On the morning of Photo Weekender Day One we met Polly near Seville’s grand and gothic cathedral. Phil and I were joined by, in alphabetical order, Ange, Hannah, Rowan, and Zoe. Polly made us all feel really welcome, and she does a great job of explaining the principles of street photography. She led us through the principles of what makes a great image: treating shadows as solid objects, separating out your human subjects, having fun with perspective, rhythm and repetition, and capturing moments in a unique and playful way.
We were sent off with a simple assignment to get just one image, shot through a “hole” of some sort! I thought this would be easy, but it was a surprising challenge. The locals, tourists, and horses around the cathedral were treated to the sight of six of us attempting to take photos through chain links, gaps in tree branches, and the slots of litter bins!
This was just the start. We visited the Metropol Parasol: the “Mushrooms” of Seville: a massive, mostly wooden structure that looks like a giant model kit left by huge aliens. There were lots of opportunities to use our cameras in ways we’d never tried before, using narrow apertures and low light sensitivity to create striking shadows and contrasts. We took a lift to the Mushrooms’ skyline walkways to admire the views, and defended like vultures on one poor lady whose dress was the exact same shade of yellow as the painted steps.
There were lots of other locations that Polly led us to: the maze-like narrow street of the Jewish Quarter in Santa Cruz, the opulence of the Royal Palaces of Alcazar, The Plaza de España, and the colourful streets of the Tirana district across the wide river.
Polly had also organised some great places for lunches and dinners, and we all got together each evening to enjoy tapas, churros, Spanish beer, and each others’ company. We also had a go on the electric scooters that were everywhere in Seville. You use and app on your phone to pay a few Euros to unlock a scooter, and then you can zoom through the streets at fairly alarming speeds! I absolutely loved those scooters, and when I’m next choosing a city break, I’m going to make sure it’s a place that has them!
At the Royal Alcazar, Phil and I were also really lucky to have an impromptu portrait shoot with the amazing talent that is Ange Ward-Brown
. It was fun to be the other side of the lens for once, and we got some really lovely pictures. Thank you, Ange!
Both Phil and I came away with our personal photography batteries recharged, and we learned loads of really useful stuff from Polly. I’d recommend her Photo Weekender trips to anyone who enjoys taking pictures, whether you’re a professional or not. It’s a great way to really SEE a beautiful place in a completely different way. You’re guaranteed to learn lots of useful photography skills and ideas, and you’ll have loads of fun, and make great new friends.
Toby's Street Photography
Phil's Street Photography
The Dignums in Seville by Ange Ward Brown