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Well, you’ve made it inside and have taken a picture of the forest of columns, now you are ready to begin with the Mezquita. Soon enough, with a quick Google search, you will discover that your picture grows in the Internet by the thousands and, worse, many will be very similar, you might even doubt the authenticity of your own effort. It is, however, something you simply must do to kill the itch. Don’t be shy! Take as many pictures as you want, though you ought to know that they won’t be the best photos you can take of the Mezquita.

I am a sworn amateur when it comes to photography. I have, nonetheless, learned how to capture some of the essence of the Mezquita. I am not a specially gifted photographer, I consider myself merely a smart amateur, but I think I can help you juice this ancient construction.

So, let’s begin. Once you are done with the guided tour –that is if you booked one–, pull away from the group, the time has come to wander on your own, the natural state of the photographer. Wander and wander around with no rush, inside and out, take your time, with a little bit of luck you shall run into some great pictures.

Also, read something about the Mezquita before the visit, know its history beforehand. The more you read the better your pictures will be as you’ll have beforehand unveiled more spots and secrets.

You’d better chose a camera over a cellphone. Amateur photographers tend to use a camera, as we know a bit of light exposure and the way it affects the camera.

If you know and the have the option, shoot in manual mode or in RAW.  The big, though obvious, inconvenient of the temple is that it was not build to accommodate photographs, it is a very dark space and, inside, flashes and tripods are strictly forbidden. You’ll have to do without them. The shutter of the camera will need very low speeds and, hence, you’ll probably take many blurred pictures. Rest the camera on a near column, on the floor or on any other surface that allows you to keep a steady focus as long as possible. If you approach one of the peripheral chapels base the camera on the bars but give up hope in finding good light. Repeat the technique in the Mirhab.

The utter enemy of every digital photograph is, however, excess of light, it might be a lonely spotlight or a general exposure. There is little to bring out from whitened pictures, they are ruined, there is nothing there. However, you can always enhance and raise features from the darkest spots. So, when circumstances are not favorable, it is better a darker picture.

Wander around the Mezquita, from cover to cover. Shoot at everything that catch your attention, you’ll have plenty of time to discard what you don’t like. Take as many pictures as you can, look for different angles and positions. Whenever you reach a new spot play and experiment with the camera, go up and down, even switch posture, but stop when an image finally reaches you. Stay put, inhale but don’t exhale, keep the air in for a moment. Now shoot softly and breathe normally. It is not nonsense, breathing affects our pulse.

A suggestion. Do not let yourself be overwhelmed by the temple. Give it time and walk, the Mezquita offers the eye countless little jewels, it could be a tessera or a capital. An another thing, it is important that you capture in detail those little treasures, for instance you won’t have taken a good picture of the Mirhab if its mosaics can’t be appreciated.

La Torre desde los pórticos del Patio de los Naranjos.
Muro de la Qibla. Mezquita de Córdoba
Arcos de la Mezquita de Córdoba.
Arcos de la Mezquita de Córdoba. Ampliación de Almanzor.
Mezquita005
Arco de herradura del Mihrab. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Cúpula del Mihrab. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Órgano y Crucero de la Catedral. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Detalle del Órgano. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Detalle de la intervención de Hernán Ruiz. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Capilla. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Inscripciones cristianas. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Detalle de Puerta exterior. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Aldabón de la Puerta de Santa Catalina. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Detalle de merlones. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Galerías del Patio de los Naranjos. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Visitantes orando en el Patio de los Naranjos. Mezquita de Córdoba.
Palmera Torre de la Catedral. Mezquita de Córdoba.

 

In 1993 Alberto Schommer published the book “The Search” focused on the Mezquita. This book belongs to the “Four Bodies of Stone”. A book containing photographs in black and white of the interior of the building. The texts are written by Alberto Villar Abellán. The book received the London Silver Award in 1994.

 

La Búsqueda (The Search)
Alberto Schommer
Turner Libros. 1993
http://albertoschommer.com

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