Stay tuned and have an inspiring summer of exploration!
A week ago, I sent off my things into storage and flew home to Prague after my first year of university had ended. This year was my first living a 'grown-up', semi-independent life, and moving abroad was an important transition for me. I thought that this week I would reflect on this milestone year, as well as give you an idea of what this summer has in store.
Thanks to my rapidly developing interest in photography, this year of my life has certainly been the most comprehensively documented of any so far. Soon after I moved to Bristol, I set myself the challenge of posting a photo on Instagram every day. This proved more difficult than originally anticipated, and I have to admit that the year did not pass without a certain amount of creative block and stress over posting a photo daily without sacrificing the quality of the content. A lot of editing was done, many photos were posted and deleted and posted again. Others were taken down days later to suit my perfectionist needs for a cohesive page. In the end, thanks to a combination of willpower and daily Whatsapp reminders from my boyfriend, I missed only a very few days. I've always thought that photography was about capturing and immortalizing beautiful moments, and I can't express enough how happy I am to have captured thousands of moments over the last year. And of course, that's all thanks to Instagram. For every one photo that I post, there's a hundred more that didn't turn out as pretty; but they also immortalize moments, and they wouldn't exist if I hadn't challenged myself to churn out a daily picture.
Looking back over the last year in photos, there is no doubt in my mind that this past year has been an exceptionally good one. This year more than ever, I've felt a satisfying sense of balance between the challenges and rewards that came my way. My challenges were not so huge that I was totally overwhelmed, and there were enough things that brought me joy to make me a very contented first-year student - and those things were moments that are now captured forever in the thousands of photos I've taken.
A few highlights: I loved showing the people who visited me from back home the place were I lived, and exploring my new city with them. Of course, as much as I love Bristol, by nature I have an ever-present feeling of both homesickness for Prague and wanderlust for places that I haven't yet seen. As far as I'm concerned, there can never be enough traveling; that having been said, I have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places this year, some of them for the first time, and others for what seems like the hundredth. Moving to the UK was exciting for me because I had barely been there before - when I moved, I hadn't even been to London yet. Bristol proved to be a great jumping-off point for day/ weekend trips to some great places, and my little trips included Bath, Exeter, London and South Wales. I have many more destinations in mind for next year, including Weston-super-Mare and St. Ives. In addition, I traveled a little further, to places like Cesky Krumlov, Berlin, Nuremberg and the Selcuk region of Turkey.
On the other hand, Bristol played host to a few highly memorable events as well: to name a few, the Halloween zombie walk, the NYC Apartment exhibition at Bristol Museum, and of course, @IgersBristol's Instagram meetups, organized by the wonderful @porthjess. These meetups deserve a special mention, as they helped me to connect with people I would never have otherwise met, go to places I might not otherwise have discovered, and generally step outside of my comfort zone, in an extremely rewarding way. Through these meetups, I met people who are much better photographers than me, and was able to see them in action and learn from them. It was also thanks to them that I took a bus to take photos exploring a stunning yellow rapeseed field near Bath with a few other instagrammers. And of course, through increasing involvement in the Instagram community, I was inspired to start this blog.
Everything has changed, and I've changed with it. I can't wait to see what the next few years have in store for me, and I hope that everything will continue to change, that I will develop new skills, become a better person, and experience things I could never dream of now. But que sera sera, and all will be revealed in due time. In the meanwhile, I'm making plans for this summer. In the blogposts to come over the next few months, you can expect some in-depth exploration of Prague, which I'm determined to reconnect with and embrace. There will also be a few travel features: I have confirmed trips to Paris and Vienna already, and there may be a few others coming up too.
Stay tuned and have an inspiring summer of exploration!
As one of the world's street art capitals, there is far more creativity in the streets of Bristol than could ever be summarized in just one blogpost. This city is the hometown of the most recognised name in modern street art - the great Banksy; and he's not alone. But what really stands out about Bristolian street art is its incredible diversity. The colours, themes and styles vary both within and across the city's neighbourhoods, and masterfully capture the atmosphere and mood of each.
Bristol's Stokes Croft neighbourhood is covered from the ground up with art, making the entire area a huge outdoor gallery. The people here live in colour, and don't take themselves to seriously; except on the things that matter, like community and freedom of expression. This is the kind of place where the demolition of an abandoned building often used as a canvas by street artists was recently halted in response to protests by Bristol residents. In Stokes Croft and the adjoining Montpellier residential neighbourhood, art is business, art is a call to action, and it's just plain fun.
Although the density of street art is without a doubt the highest in Stokes Croft and Montpeiller, the rest of the city doesn't go untouched by the influence of public art. The city centre houses one of Banksy's more famous works, a mural of a man hanging off a window ledge after his lover's husband returns. JPS Artist's 'Big Deal' is just around the corner, depicting a business transaction between toddlers. A maritime mural advertises a fish and chips shop called Catch 22. A slightly more unconventional piece, the shoe tree on College Green is both a continually evolving, public piece, and a great mystery. For a different kind of street art, Millennium Square contains a few surprising pieces, including Cathy Pilkington's dogs swimming in a rubber puddle, and the newly installed Energy Tree.
Even the peaceful residential neighbourhood of Cliftonwood is no stranger to being an outdoor museum. In fact, it's colourful houses, each facade painted a different pastel colour, makes it a giant functional installation in itself. To complement this, Cliftonwood street art takes on a very different identity from what may be found in the likes of Stokes Croft. The area's strong sense of community is reflected in the highly cohesive, subtle mosaics scattered sparsely on garden walls and above doors. A mosaic of the neighbourhood itself welcomes visitors to the city's most colourful district, and the Bristolian theme continues throughout. From a permanently parked bicycle planted with flowers, to the hot air balloons that float along the streets, breaking up white walls, this area's art truly captures the light and colourful Bristolian mood.
Which is your favourite piece from this post? Do you know of a piece of Bristolian art that you feel should have been featured? Let me know if you think I should showcase more pieces and more neighbourhoods in future blogposts.
Two weeks ago, I introduced you to Bristol, the city where I now live for most of the year. This week, I want to do the same with the city where I grew up - Prague. Of course, Prague is famous as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the world, so it will take nothing more than a Google Images search to draw up hundreds of thousands of photos of the Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle, and Astronomical Clock. It is rarer to find photos of the things that locals love about Prague. For me, that is the streets. The old city is a maze of narrow, winding cobblestoned alleys lined with baroque churches, tiny cafes and basement art galleries. It really doesn't get more charming. It's easy to get lost in this maze, and that's kind of the point. You'll find your way eventually, and until then, relax, explore and reflect.
What do you love most about your city? Would you like me to share more posts about Prague? Comment below x Until next week!
My name is Emilie. I live between Bristol and Prague, travel, drink coffee and explore as much as I can.