Jan 9 2016

A Brief History of My Camino de Santiago

Aida

They say that there are three parts to the Camino de Santiago.
The first is the fight with your body which takes about ten days to adjust to. The second, the fight with your mind, in which you question your actions of walking for so long, being there, and every single aspect of insecurity that humbly hid away in that head of yours. Finally, there’s the reassurance that you are achieving greatness; the third stage is enlightenment.
Well, I can only say that my whole journey consisted of the fight with my body. I kept telling myself the pain would reside, I only had two days, then one day to reach the ten day mark. But the pain increased, and increased until the last day of my walk into Santiago de Compostela when I realized that I had finally broken in my hiking boots. Unfortunately, my happiness dwindled in between this extraordinary realization and the tropical storm that approached with severity.
There was no self-reflection on my part. I mean, sure I thought about my past, I thought about what brought me there, but mostly I thought about the person I walked with and what brought them there. I thought about how many more kilometers I had to walk to reach a bed, I thought about the terrain that lay ahead. And sometimes, but only sometimes and briefly I might add, did I think about what I am going to do when I came back to what I left behind.

Two years ago, I had the great idea of walking across Canada. The thought was provoked by an intense journey in Greece a year before where I decided, on a whim, to walk twenty-six kilometers. That day in Greece was a profound experience, but now I believe these things come at the right time, the enlightenment creeps in like the sun at dawn.
But surely, I wasn’t going to walk across Canada although I found mighty good evidence of two troopers who did this in the early two thousands which I thought was epic on their part. But I didn’t have a partner.
So in my eager stupor I decided to google “walks” across Europe. I had my eye on the Scottish highlands, but considering it was one of the most popular pilgrimages I chose the Camino de Santiago.

A year ago I could not consider myself a happy person, nor a content one. Life worries piled up and my heart constantly felt heavy. However, if someone had asked me what was wrong, what made me sad, I’d find myself grasping for invisible reasons just to please my ego. I knew I felt sad, I just didn’t have a good enough excuse.
So I turned to fear.
I knew I wanted to walk the Camino one day, I just saw it more as dream than reality. In truth, I was terrified of leaving and being on my own in a foreign country.

In January, my 25th birthday rolled around and I realized I had not done anything significant for myself. I contemplated the idea of crossing eight hundred kilometers. In February, I booked my ticket to Paris.
On August 12th my parents phoned in the early afternoon telling me they’ve just left their house and will be at mine in thirty minutes, I should be waiting downstairs for them with my baggage by then. After I hung up the phone, I ran to the washroom and vomited the coffee I drank earlier that morning. The fear kicked in. I looked at myself in the mirror, tears rolled down my face, I told myself that I didn’t have to go through with it, my parents would understand, in fact they’d be happy and relieved.
At the airport it was time to say good-bye. My father hugged me and kissed me as if it was only another day. My mother embraced me heavily, and I felt tears flood my eyes, but I fought hard to hold them back. I didn’t want her to panic.
I was afraid. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it. Was it to punish myself? Was it to find myself?
But the second I boarded that plane, I looked out the window and I felt all of the fear release me. I had eight hours to figure out how I’d reach Saint Jean Pied de Port where my pilgrimage would begin.

I gave myself forty-four days to spend in Europe; Thirty-five (in case of injury) to walk the Camino.
I finished it in thirty-two, and it was the most happiest, most extraordinary thirty-two days of my life.
That’s the thing, I have no words, only the ones that led me to it.
The thing about such a pilgrimage is that you meet individuals like yourself and you fall in love with all of them for they embody all that you embody. They walk for the reasons you walk, which are many.
The Camino is like a time machine.

Here’s to all the fellow pilgrims I met along the way, the friends who have shaped me into the person I am today, and for the happiness they have given me which still lingers to this day.
Buen Camino!

Camino De Santiago 2015


Nov 9 2015

Keana and Lyndon

Aida

I have known Keana since highschool and was honored when she asked me to photograph her engagement.
Congratulations you two, you make a hell of a team!

Aida Gradina Photography

Untitled-2

Untitled-4

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Untitled-3


May 13 2015

Flowers For Mom

Aida

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Jan 12 2015

[Enter Title Here]

Aida

Self-Portrait, midnight fog

AidaGradina_TheSun_AlsoRises_001


Jan 12 2015

The Place Beyond The Pines

Aida

I heard a perfect echo die
Into an anonymous wall
of digital sound
Somewhere deep inside
Of my soul.

A natural beauty should be preserved
like a monument to nature
Don’t judge yourself too harsh,
my love
Or someday you might find
your soul endangered
A natural beauty should be preserved
like a monument to nature.

Amazon
You had so much
and now so much is gone
What are you gonna do
With your life?

What a lucky man
To see the earth
before it touched his hand
What an angry fool
To condemn

One more night to go
One more sleep
upon your burning banks
A greedy man never knows
What he’s done

A natural beauty should be preserved
like a monument to nature

Neil Young – Natural Beauty

Aida Gradina Photography 2015

Aida Gradina 2015

Aida Gradina Photography 2015

Aida Gradina Photography 2015


Dec 3 2014

Space Odyssey

Aida

This is one of my favourites.

Aida Gradina Photography


Nov 4 2014

Flying South

Aida

Phone photo

Stormy days

Stormy days


Nov 4 2014

Puzzle Pieces

Aida

Aida Gradina Photography


Oct 15 2014

Evening Walk

Aida

Evening walk, photos of trees.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Oct 10 2014

Wald Der Trauer

Aida

Here are a few snapshots I took while walking through a forest in Langley.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Oct 7 2014

Love Of My Life

Aida

Phone photo, Steinbeck (all that’s good in this world)

John Steinbeck, books, hydrangeas

John Steinbeck, books, hydrangeas


Oct 3 2014

Storm’s Coming

Aida

Sometimes when your life feels stagnant, so much so that there’s an uncontrollable itch to pack up and leave, take a moment and remember where you’ve been and all that you’ve seen.

I never got to blog about my trip to Mexico with my brother this past summer.
And of course I have to start at the very end.
This was our last night in Puerto Vallarta. We sat in the rain, drank wine and waited for the storm. I wanted to capture lightning. There was live music playing in the distance and chatter of so many drunken visitors, but I cannot remeber our words exchanged. I only recall seeing my brother happy and at peace because this was the place where he belonged, and yearned to see for many years. And although this was paradise, and I cannot live without the sea, again something pulled me towards land and BC trees.

Both of us had met a lot of locals and engaged in lengthy conversations with them, especially the fishermen. Sami became our friend for the short time we stayed there and took us snorkling around the little islands. I asked him once if he was happy and he pointed to a little house on the edge of the beach and told me his father was born there and now he lives there with his family; “Whenever I leave this place even if it’s just for a day I cannot wait to come home.”
I admired his life. I respected his ability of being a real man, a man who builds his body on a labourous and meaningful job, who hunts and gathers his own food when available in order to feed his family. It’s a way of life, not a struggle.
It reminded me of my home in Croatia, one that no longer exists but I hope to build for my future children one day so they learn to respect and love the land they walk on.

These photographs are barely edited, and this is the same sunset over the course of two or so hours.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Oct 3 2014

Marina

Aida

Maternity photoshoot at the Rose Garden in Stanley park, end of summer.

Marina’s family is in Russia and she lives here alone. Because of the current conflicts in Russia her husband’s date to return to Canada has been pushed back several months.
She is so brave and loving, she is a mother, and a mother needs to be strong for her child.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Marina gave birth to a healthy baby boy a week ago today.


Sep 19 2014

Amra + Vedran

Aida

Congratulations to the beautiful bride and groom; the search is over! Wishing you all the happiness in this world, and I am forever grateful for these images and sharing your day with me.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Sep 10 2014

Amazing Brentwood

Aida

Here are some images from yesterdays shoot: Amazing Brentwood Show Room building, interior and exterior.
The space was so inspirational and incredibly fun to shoot.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Sep 4 2014

So Much Land

Aida

BC Mountains

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Sep 2 2014

With The Wild Ones

Aida

Some fun photos from the long weekend camping trip.
Revolution Peak, somewhere up in the mountains close to Lilooet, BC.

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


Aug 8 2014

If Stars Can Stick Why Can’t I

Aida

Blog was down for a while and I was away for a bit meeting places. All is well.

I’ve been working on this series for about two years and am just now realizing how much hard work goes into something like this. Two years feels like nothing, yet within that time frame I constantly tried to capture what I have now, and still it’s not enough, and perhaps will never be enough. How do you know that a certain work is completed when it comes to photography, or any art form?
For now it all comes down to giving yourself some space and time.

Fire, Walk With Me Series, latest work

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography

Aida Gradina Photography


May 28 2013

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Aida

Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)