The Architecture of Cities: Seville

The Cathedral of Seville.

If I were to dream: I would imagine I sat atop a Spanish Imperial Eagle espying from the prevailing Sirocco. Aloft the hot rising currents I felt tethered to the romantic vision of Carmen: Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

If I were to dream: I would imagine that more than two thousand years ago I marched alongside the bespoken Seville founder and powerful mythic Hercules.

If I were to dream: I would imagine my myth: A younger version of me trying to kiss an ethereal beauty who has not yet lived in any time but in our dreams.

My mind enters the point of no return: My eyes dream within my heart.

I entered Seville like I was leading an army of like minded souls searching for the beauty that was my Carmen. I would  trace her footsteps. All the while I would be making a discovery about myself.

Every time I lift my camera I dream within my reality. My camera lives within my two stories.

I use all of my mental faculties as a navigation system to pass through Sevilles’ urban and rural landscapes. I discover paths that I can follow. My agenda becomes something larger than a mere photograph. I create reasons to get through a known and unknown set of discoveries.

Bizet’s Carmen is a precious love story. As I followed every shard of light, curious street and building  my camera began to understand Seville’s history.

A frenzy and an adrenaline rush snaked through my mind and body.  Led Zeppelin – Going To California (Official Audio)YouTube · Led Zeppelin3 minutes, 33 secondsNov 27, 2021   The song began to flood my acoustical tunnels. I was in a panic to see what I needed to see. I was shielding my body from the most surreal temperatures and spectral presence: If one could possibly imagine the Hiroshima atomic bomb victims radiant shadows bleached atop the city’s cement and stone remains: Yes this heat was my enemy. I sheltered from the sun for hours every day. To this very moment the memory of the heat leaves me weak.

Chasing Carmen in the shadows.

After awhile I found clarity in the heat. I felt the rhythm that might be a better acoustical companion.

Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain”, Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain (1960) (Full Album)YouTube · Jazz Time with Jarvis X41 minutes, 39 secondsFeb 18, 2018

Miles, a wee bit of Flamenco and architecture: Following all of my reverie I found my gait. I started with what I understood was to be inside the Cathedral de Sevilla: The Casa Carnal. If I could find the legacy of Carmen there, I could find some peace of mind.

The Bull Ring.

Heading toward the Bull Ring.

But then I moved with Miles! I Crossed the shadows of the Cathedral. I scanned left and right for my Carmen. Only the traces, of shadows that may be hers were slightly seen. So I moved some more to the (Bull Ring) “Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla”. I imagined sitting with Hemingway (not knowing if he had been there or not). I still wanted to dream a bit; I walked through Santa Cruz (the Old Jewish Quarter). I found myself lost at night: One cannot always feel lost with the company of food and a wee drink or two.

Looking for traces of Carmen.

I found the next engagement: The  uplifting contemporary designs from the 1992 Design Expo: The new Police Station: The Court House and many more alluring beauties.

My spirits were brighter; My pictures were brighter.

I finally sat down one afternoon in the shade with Carmen novelist, Prosper Mérimée, and Carmen composer, Georges Bizet. We talked about the myth and the frenzy that one woman may cause when you chase her through this beautiful city.

Bull in hiding.

I dream everytime I place my eyes up to the view finder

I dream while reality stands before me

It is the only way I know how to see

I never found my Carmen, but I saw traces of so much more.

Cesar Pelli designed hotel.

The science and design expo from 1992.

All photos by Richard Schulman.

Richard Schulman is a photographer and writer. His books include Portraits of the New Architecture and Oxymoron & Pleonasmus. He lives in New York City.