When I think of Chicago I think of stop-and-go traffic, crowds of people flocking towards the Bean, and 90 degree Fahrenheit weather; but I also
think of drives down Lake Shore Drive, the Cubs Stadium, and all my favorite spots to go for a quick bit. When first starting the selfie project in Chicago I was excited to hop on my bike and take on each location. It never really crossed my mind how many tourists visit the city on a given day. I personally feel fortunate to live in a city in which people will fly across the world to take a selfie with the Chicago Skyline. When arriving to Barcelona I was slightly overwhelmed with the density of tourists in the city, and right away I felt the tension of being unwelcomed. The Barcelona portion of the selfie project dimmed more challenging, but the residents of the city have a right to be upset with visitors. Since Barcelona, as a city, cannot continue to grow outward, the locals feel as though they are being forced to compromise their culture to fit the wants of the tourists. Though not everyone hates tourists, the tension between both locals and visitors is increasing.
On the other hand, Americans are known for being loud and expressive and it is no different in Chicago where I notice individual expression is seen throughout the city in the form of teens getting into trouble. Though they are doing something that could potentially hurt themselves, the residents of Chicago do not seem worried. These acts seem to be more acceptable. As where in Barcelona taking selfies, or individual expression by capturing the moment with a photo, is seen as something an outsider might do. Which in turn attracts a different type of attention. In the form of taking from the citizens and not giving back to their community. As you can tell leaving the central tourist part of Barcelona and venturing into more residential areas to take a selfie I was greeted with a not so welcoming smile. As my time here increases I hope I’m not seen as a tourist, but more as a visitor; and that I’m not here to take but to learn from this beautiful city and its people.