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Manic in Madrid

Stephanie Pulido

Joder. I don't even know where to start. I knew I was going to be in for a long ride but I had no idea how challenging, stressful, rewarding and taxing living here would be. Something tragic happened in Albacete where I was originally placed and I was given the opportunity to locate to Madrid. When I first arrived in Spain I landed in Madrid and hated it. It just reminded me of the Spanish version of NYC and was tired of being in a city since I came from Philly and NYC prior. I missed being around green landscapes. I was lucky enough to know some people in Madrid so it made the transition easier. I  have never felt so helpless, constantly seeking for aide and being vulnerable. I have realized it takes a strong women to recognize her strengths and her handicaps.

I came to Madrid for a weekend to find a flat, and thanks to the magic of the internet, not only did I find a flat but also a friend. Someone to talk about ideas, share our stories and create with. I am so thankful for his love, compassion and words of encouragement that I wish these moments could last forever, but as Tingluey said, time isn't static, we can keep a watch but we can't hold on to seconds and minutes.  

I met a potential lover on the internet that hates me now, got a terrible parasite, had my photography published on a rad local magazine and am working with local designers and tastemakers. Constantly living, learning and soaking up all the knowledge and feelings.  Countless hellos and unwanted goodbyes, but everyone I have met thus far, has taught me something. Something I will never forget and will navigate my moral compass. I have learned to be utterly open, never give up and only expect what has already happened. There are decisions you have to make in life and I have to remember one is not better than the other, it is about the type of person you want to become and the choices you make to coincide with your future self. 

These photos were all taken in the duration of the last 6 months, some as a visitor and others as a resident in Madrid

Amsterdam, mi amor

Stephanie Pulido

Of course everyone raves about Amsterdam being cool because you can get high and fuck girls for money but there was something quite magical about the city other than those obvious reasons. I arrived in Amsterdam at 7 am from an overnight bus in Paris, dropped my bags off and started my day. This was the last city on my trip and the first one where I was not staying with a friend. Solo traveller mode needed to be turned on which I hadn't needed to do since Paris back in November. I ate pancakes, worked on my street photography, bought mushroom truffles and saw the dutch version of MIA perform and the list goes on. 

One of my favorite moments was stumbling upon a cafe that was filled with monstera deliciosa and oversized crystals. I ordered a joint and an organic apple juice (my favorite) and proceeded to find a seat in this quaint yet crowded cafe. I finally found a table and then Toro Y Moi's "Underneath the Pine" album came on, which is easily one of my favorite records. A joint, a juice and some jams? I was in heaven and was soaking up these emotions of satisfaction and pure joy. The plants reminded me of my friend Terra, then Blondie came on, which reminded me of my friend Yvonne. Even though I was physically alone, my friends were surrounded all around me. When I see art, I think of a moment or a feeling or even a person. Everything I see is a constant reminder of who I am and where I am going and everything is connected.

I went to so many photography galleries and museums and came across a book called "People Of Amsterdam" which was a collection of street photography and portraits. I had one roll of film left and wanted to capture people in their rawest moments as we coexist in this concept we call time. I have come to realize how important capturing these twinkles in life are to me and my passion for photography was steadily increasing. There definitely is room for improvement but there always is. You can never fill up the space to become the best version of yourself, but you can always try. There is always going to be someone smarter than you, prettier than you, and even more talented to you, but one thing that sets you a part from others is, being yourself, recognizing your handicaps and embracing them.

Lollygaggin in London

Stephanie Pulido

Between not having any family and barely any friends abroad, I decided to reach out to a fellow Austinite that I hardly knew to create, get to know and spend Christmas with. I honestly do not care for the holiday as I am not Christian, and has become a day for conformists to have an excuse to indulge in consumerism. It boggles my mind we live in a society filled with lies of Santa Claus, overconsumption of technology and mast produced items made in 3rd world countries on fractions of a dollar. I splurged and bought Reeboks for 20 quid which I still feel a little guilty about it but I justified my purchase by all my clothing being second hand and I have been wearing the same pair of shoes for the last few months as the ones I initially came with were falling apart.

We rode around the city hungover, ate salted beef bagels and were orphans on Christmas with no heat, a fridge full of reductions and listened to to George Michael while watching Mark Mothersbaugh videos.  We drank over priced drinks at a trendy restaurant in Soho, just so I could get a few shots before I was kicked out and designed a set for my new friend's fashion collection. I saw a beautiful French film and so much art that I thought my head was going to explode. My favorites were a collection of photographs from the 1970's feminist movement, Elton John's personal photo collection and Robert Rauschenberg's exhibit which I came to find out is from Texas.   

For once I didn't feel guilty speaking English in social settings and it was nice to share a home cooked meal when we were so far away from familiarity and home. I did not want to leave but I left part of me behind, my bra. 

Be My Baby In Barcelona

Stephanie Pulido

Barcelona, I love you. From the moment I laid eyes on you, I knew I wanted to be inside you forever. Not only did I have a great host who I met at the oldest bar in Barcelona, where communists guzzled down drinks, I was on my first photo assignment abroad covering Primavera Club for local Austin music blog, Pop Press INTL. I hadn't covered a concert since I was with Cornerstone and was excited and nervous, which has been my most common combo of feelings since living in Spain.  

I laid topless on the beach, rode around the city in a bike that was two sizes too big for me having to peddle backwards to stop, which was fucking nerve racking, and kissed a man wearing my coral shade of lipstick as we got lost in our deep thoughts after he performed on stage.  I will never forget reading at a cafe listening to "Jolene" and questioning if love out of compassion is real love and can infidelity and love coexist. I really resonated with Milan Kundra's novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  One of my favorite lines is "Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory". 

I also recall how thrilled and full of energy I was when I saw two monk parakeets leaving the Joan Miro Foundation. There is a colony of these lime green parrots in Austin and I felt like they were little guardian angels that secretly follow me on my travels. Even though I was so far away from home, I didn't feel lonely. My answers to these questions change daily just like everything else on this Spanish rollercoaster.  This ride is the only constant in my life. Nothing is guaranteed and everything changes. Fast. Flights cancel, fake friends flake, people lie, people you become close to are now gone, stores are closed, you get sick, you move into your flat but end up sleeping in a hostel, the best moment of your life can be on the worst day of your life. 

Don't Let the Draft Get In

Stephanie Pulido

Life is full of choices. Sometimes too many choices were you feel conflicted and your anxiety rolls in like an unanticipated rain storm.  As cliche as "As one door closes, another one opens", it is completely true. Leaving Austin was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I closed the door, with leaving a little crack, just enough for the draft to get in. But that minute seep of air has been holding me back and I knew I needed to shut the door, in order to be faultlessly present. 

Spain is filled with history, architecture, culture, art, four variations of Spanish and the list goes on.  Looking at the detailing of windows and doors really captivates me, and challenges my curiosity. How long has this building been abandoned? When was it built? Who lives there? Why did they choose that shade of green? Was someone murdered there or did it used to be a brothel? 

This will be a continuous series as I resume my travels, opening and closing doors. Always remembering to not let the draft get in. 

My Nene in Lisboa

Stephanie Pulido

After hours of perusing on the world wide web, I found out one of my favorite artists, Cate Le Bon was on a Euro Tour. I heard numerous positive remarks about Lisbon, so decided to head West. My friend Terra has been my music enthusiast since I have been away and recommended I check out Mykki Blanco, who is a transgender performance artist. They so happened to be playing right after Cate and each ticket got you a shot of JAMESON.  My night continuously kept falling into place and I thought to myself life has a crazy way of working out, and when it doesn't it is how you react that builds character. 

Since I was on a budget and did not know a soul, I decided to check out couch surfing for the first time. Not only did we hit it off, she took me to buy hash and we ate at one of the oldest places in Portugal called Super Marios to eat bitoque, which is a flat ironed steak with a fried egg on top and french fries. We had cocktails at one of the best bars I have ever been to. One room was filled with fur walls and a stripper pole, another projected an oldies film on the wall and the last room was the epitome of a classic cocktail lounge with 19th century velvet chairs, Al Green lightly playing in the background and golden framed art scattered amongst the walls. We discussed Cambodian rock, drank Pimms cups and the show hadn't even begun. 

The following day was a little laid back as I stayed out to the wee hours, but I traveled to Belen where they have the infamous pastel del nata, and went to the contemporary art museum. The following day I went to Sintra, and hiked to the top of a castle, wandered through a palace that was originally housed by monks and went to the most western point in Europe, the closest to America I could get. The smell of the ocean and the breeze of the crisp sea air as a gazed at the stars recharged my mind and soul. Sometimes you need to close your eyes and listen. Listen to your surroundings and speak to your senses. What do you feel? What do you smell? How does it taste? Vision isn't everything, it's those tender moments in solitude that is an experience within itself. 

Two Step to Lockhart

Stephanie Pulido

Who knew you could get a free house by making an offer before it is being demolished. Also, who knew we have a striving artist community 20 miles outside of Austin? The more you know. I had the gracious opportunity to house sit for two of the members of my favorite band in Austin, Tele Novella. Their house replicated their style with shelves beyond shelves of records, 85% of the music I had never heard of but was eager to listen. She had her own personal dressing room filled with amazing vintage, need I say more, and the cutest Shasta in the backyard where I was able to host friends. 

I devoured guacamole naked and modeled for SPREAD, which is a food art zine based out of Austin, TX, thrifted great finds like a Prince 1999 record and a fur mink hat, took acid and listened to "Their Satanic Majesties Request" while melting into the floor. It was a fun ride and helped me gain confidence in solitude before I embarked on my journey to Europe. 


Empire State of Being

Stephanie Pulido

Not only is it more cost effective to fly out of NYC to Madrid, but who doesn't want an excuse to be inspired by the most magical city in the US? Even though I was still an emotional wreck, I tried to have a good time and somewhat succeeded. I managed to snag free tickets to Shannon and The Clams where I was stood up, I shot/styled my very first photo shoot with a dress I designed and I cried on the ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan as if I was migrating to Ellis Island. 

I ate good food, saw cool art, thrifted yellow suspenders and bought a Larry David pin but I knew something was missing. It wasn't as magical as my last trip to NYC which so happened to be with my ex boyfriend where I was planning the breakup before we even left. Was it because I was counting down the minutes until I would no longer be in the US? Or was it because I continue to get let down by people that I care about the most? My anxiety was the worst it had ever been and it wasn't until an hour before I departed when things started to fizzle down. I was on the phone with the man of my dreams, which at the time felt like the last American I would ever speak to, and was given a piece of mind. The sound of his voice gave me comfort and confidence to not be afraid of what has yet to come which was making my heart wanting to jump out of my chest and run to the trash. The last 10 days had been an emotional nightmare but it just took 1 phone call to escape me from my dreams. 

The feelies of Philly

Stephanie Pulido

Before I departed the country, my journey began in Philly. I was an emotional wreck due to a surprising reaction from leaving Austin and a man that toyed with my heart.  I styled and scouted for a photoshoot, saw vintage textiles from Africa, heard an Ex-Priest from Italy perform in a dark DIY basement show and shared cocktails, nachos and convo with my boo Ramona. 

It was hard to be present in these moments as my mind was racing and was full of anxiety from leaving my home, my friends and someone I could finally picture a life with. That is why I turn to my camera, where I am solely focused in on this moment of creating a constant memory.

All images shot with a 35mm camera.




Concrete City

Stephanie Pulido

One of my best buds wanted to move to Chicago but had never been so I hopped on the opportunity to visit and explore the city with her. There were moments were I felt like a middle aged tourist being driven by consumerism, a Puerto Rican roaming the streets listening to reggaeton, and part of the Great Gatsby dancing to 20's jazz with an Iranian economist. This trip made me realize how much I enjoy being in a large metropolitan city and  surrounded by diversity. All images are in sequence of my trip and shot with a 35mm camera. 

Jungle Baby

Stephanie Pulido

I turned 30 this year and I wanted to ring in the new decade with my best friends in Puerto Rico. Day dreaming of sunsets and waterfalls while I sit behind a device that is trying to consume my mind can be quite a deterrent from reality. Wandering in the rainforest with my Ramona is something I will forever cherish and I hope she will too. 

Model// Chelsea Figueroa @ramonaqueenb

Photos// Stephanie Pulido @soulrebelvintage


Stephanie Pulido

I would have been a fool to not drop in to this exhibit as there was a massive multi-speaker boombox calling my name through the window. As I entered the collection of DIY boomboxes Mr. Sachs created, Kayne West's album, Graduation was playing through the main speaker and couldn't help but shoulder shrug as I checked out each device. These series of boomboxes were inspired by the hip hop movement in the 1980's and were created in his studio in New York as well as the Art School at Laguna Gloria in Austin, TX. He practices very strong organizational skills and no room for error which is strongly conveyed in his intricate details in all his pieces. "Always be knolling" is a term that has been incorporated into his lifestyle which was first used in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow and is as follows:

  1. Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
  2. Put away everything not in use. If you aren't sure, leave it out.
  3. Group all 'like' objects.
  4. Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself

I have found knolling to be very useful in my every day life. Especially my sewing space, as it can get cluttered extremely fast and it is more difficult for my brain to process the task that I attempting to accomplish. Try to incorporate it in your daily routine and see if your productivity levels change. Always be knolling while taking care of biz. 

Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999 - 2015

The Contemporary Austin
January 24th - April 19th, 2015