Ilene Squires Photography

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Month in Cadiz, Spain

2010 has been an extremely exciting year for me both personally and professionally. As though getting married wasn’t the icing on the cake, I got this sense that all of my seemingly random professional experiences were finally adding up. For those of you who don’t know, I studied in Spain, one of the only countries outside of the US that I continue to have a relationship with and visit. My passport has a lot of stamps in it but the only recurring stamp you’ll see is de mi querida Espana. Since living there for the first time nearly ten (yikes!) years ago, I have returned on several trips to vacation, live and ultimately for work. This past May when I had reached the point of no return (AKA Bridezilla status) with wedding planning, one of my dearest friends, Staci, sent me a random email about an organization she had worked for two years ago called Abbey Road. Coincidentally they were looking for a digital photography instructor who had experience living abroad, who was conversational in Spanish, who had worked with youth and would be able to commit to July in Spain. I had the perfect candidate, namely, ME! I would teach a course three times a week and the rest of the time I would document the American teenage immersion experience. “What a hoot!,” I thought to myself. There were no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts,” and after a rocky interview experience I signed the contract, despite being a recent newlywed. I also finally upgraded my equipment to the Canon 5D MarkII, which made me feel like my wishes to receive some sort of signal from the universe that this photo career was not some silly passion gone wrong, were indeed answered. As I packed my bags for a month in Cadiz (with a short intermission for a turn around trip to Cape Cod  07/10), I began to reminisce about tintos de veranojamon iberico and queso manchego. This was of course secondary to day dreaming about Spain’s endless summer noted with 10:00 pm sunsets. What a treat! This would beat another dreaded rainy and steamy New York summer! Of course, there was a little twist of fate with having already traveled to South Africa for the World Cup and Spain slowly creeping through the tournament, ultimately winning the finale! Though I at first attested that the “...trip would be a lot sexier without the teenage kids,” in the end it was the kids that made the trip worthwhile. I have a close friend and mentor who always told me that you have not mastered anything in life unless you’ve taught it to someone else. Imparting my modest knowledge about the photographic world with the future of my country was exhausting, yes, but simultaneously it was affirmation that I have alas become a professional photographer. It goes without saying, especially to the fantastic students I had, that you were a true delight and I look forward to seeing you grow as photographers. So, thank you Abbey Road for a mutually beneficial summer fling. I thought my love affairs would be over once I tied the knot!


  1. Nice Pics of the Abbey Road Program in Spain. You captured the essence of the students' experience.

  2. LOVE IT, Ms. Squires! Gorgeous photos and a professional feat accomplished. Salud!!!

    oxox Staci