Before I left for my study abroad program, I made one promise to several people. I promised that I would take as many pictures as possible and post them all over social media.
To be honest, I lied. I knew when I was making the promise to my friends and family that I was definitely not going to keep it. This is because I’ve never really been the type to showcase myself or my everyday life. At least not unless I do so as a personal challenge or project to memorialize an experience.
For example, I took a picture every day of my senior year in high school and I posted these pictures on social media. The pictures were of candid moments with my friends. Moments that were more valuable than an occasional selfie of me looking off in the distance, with a scenic background behind me and an inspiration caption that I had Googled only moments before.
Those pictures ended up being amazing commemorations of the end to an eventful chapter in my life. So coming here, I knew that I wanted to have the same mentality while recording my experience. I wanted to record the small, not staged moments. I wanted to record the things and scenes that would not often be thought of as “picture-perfect.”
This was, at first, a real challenge for me because almost everything here in Lüneburg, and in the other cities I have visited, is beautiful and picturesque. It takes a lot to not take a picture that one can easily find in a Google image search and call it a day. But during a bus ride through Lüneburg, I took notice of something that I am usually oblivious to: graffiti.
In between picturesque buildings and monuments, there’s graffiti. Sometimes the graffiti is small stencils of a simple message or elaborate murals that seem to have been painted by multiple artists over a long period of time. These pieces are not really hidden, in fact it seems as if they are showcased because no one attempts to paint over them or reprimand the artists.
One morning, my bus to school actually passed by a spray paint artist working on a small stump. She was doing this in broad daylight and was not stopped by anyone. The next day, her piece was done and it looked amazing.
Lüneburg is beautiful because it’s historic and “frozen in time.” But the modern graffiti seems to add to the overall aesthetic of the city. So I decided to make capturing graffiti (and candid moments) my way of recording my study abroad experience. I know that by recording my experience this way, I will always be able to look at any picture and put myself back in that exact moment, experiencing the same emotions.