Imagine your great grandmother’s crocheted blanket draped over your knees while you sit next to a crackling fireplace. You’re sipping a dark and spicy red. When you look out your window, you don’t see the alley explicitly made for a dumpster between your building and the next. You see a sparkling river, cluttered with brightly painted boats and lined by orange, blue, and terracotta-colored houses, with warm looking rooftops you wouldn’t mind sitting atop.
You are in Portugal, transported there by the busy-yet-simple photographs that Madrid-based photographer Cristina Candel pristinely captured for the Viajes (travel) section of the famed Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Cristina works a lot with El Mundo, mainly via her travel photography. She has a long history with the newspaper, so when the art director asked if she was busy, it wasn’t unexpected.
I get along very well with the journalists of El Mundo. They know they can ask me for anything that might come up in the story and the shoot. We’re always changing the program for the sake of the reportage, so we have to be able to communicate and remain flexible.
She headed to Portugal, where she spent three days in the city of Porto. Along with journalist Isabel Garcia, Cristina explored the new neighborhood across the Douro river in Porto, World of Wine — or Wow — a town full of beautiful wineries and museums.
We had very little time to cover all the places we wanted to include in the story. We would go and spend maybe an hour in these places we normally would stay half a day.
They didn’t spend all their time in Wow, however. Cristina and Isabel always work well together, agreeing on almost everything, so they both couldn’t resist dipping back across the river to re-discover the old city.
One of the days, we decided to walk into the city and ended up getting totally drenched! We had to go back to the hotel to change before we could continue shooting.
It wasn’t necessarily ideal that it was raining for most of the trip, but Cristina took the opportunity to spend some more time shooting interiors, exploring the Wine Experience Museum and the Chocolate Museum.
Cristina and Isabel knew the rain would be an issue, so they didn’t plan on spending too much outside. The sun did make an appearance once or twice, and Cristina jumped at the opportunity to take what she likes to call “shine photos.”
Throughout the images, you get a sense of warmth, despite the overcast weather and cool interiors. It feels homey and content, like Portugal as a whole doesn’t need to try very hard. They’re happy with what they do, and seeing it through Cristina’s eyes, you are too.
I love Portugal. Every time I get to work there is a gift.
See more of Cristina’s work at cristinacandel.com.
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