Sold! (Venduta) – How To Reuse Your Old Camera

Milan (Italy). Photography lovers, are you inseparable from your old, broken, unusable camera? Do you want to keep it but you do not know what to do with it? Here’s a nice solution I have seen yesterday at the East Market – a very popular event hosted in a former factory located in Milano Lambrate (the same location of “Fuorisalone“, the “unplugged” side of the Salone del Mobile).

With a simple (but fashionable) bulb, a coloured wire, and some “electrical engineering” skills, here it is shown how easy (but nice) can be to recycling your old unusable camera, transforming it into a lamp to be hung on the wall and to make it live a second life.

I think it is great, isn’t it?

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Rain Cannot Stop My Desire to Photograph Florence

Florence (Italy). The past weekend I spent some time in Florence, the city where I was born many some years ago and where I love to return. As I already wrote several times in the past, it’s interesting when I approach a city that I’m supposed to know very well, with the curiosity of a “first time”. It’s a sort of “exploring the known”, but it’s in any case something of very interesting and stimulating for my “2 + 1” eyes (I included my lens of course).

This time, I decided to dedicate some hours to the “Museum of the Opera del Duomo”, which has been recently renovated. I was extremely wishful to visit this place, and the main reason was – beyond the enthusiastic comments I got from other visitors – a book that I have recently read and that describes the history of the legendary Brunelleschi’s Dome. I will write a specific post on the Museum (with some photos taken directly from the inside); but since the ticket for the museum includes also the access to the top of the dome, I wanted to climb it.

The weather was not nice: it rained all the day and the sky was grey and cloudy. And despite the fact I have been on the top of the dome many times in my life, I was excited as if it were the first time… For this reason I titled this post “Rain Cannot Stop My Desire to Photograph Florence”: and this here is the result of a challenging – but still nice – landscape shooting from the top of the largest masonry cupola on earth.

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – Bicycles Museum at Rossignoli Bike Shop

Milan (Italy). In these days, Milan seems “the place to be” – and not only for architecture lovers, trendy designers and unmissable hipsters. For sure, like every year around this period, the city attracts an incredible amount of people coming here to discover the latest tendencies in the sectors of furniture, lighting, decoration and home appliances.

I cannot miss the opportunity of keeping my eye (and my camera) on this interesting world of course, and I like to share what I’m seeing here in my photoblog (isn’t it its purposes?). What’s really impressive, for those people living here all the year, is assisting to a true and deep change in the city’s spirit: let me try to better express myself. Although I consider Milan as probably the most living, enjoyable, innovative and “sparkling” city in Italy (for sure, one of the best life quality), during the so called “design week” the “routine” goes through an authentic transformation, which means pulling out a completely new soul made not only of parties, events, vernissage, opening ceremonies and installations (these things are pretty normal – let me say) but made of a sense of general “discovery”. Yes, during the Fuorisalone’s week, Milan’s people (re)discover their city made of hidden courtyards, beautiful buildings (some of them exceptionally open to public), street decorations and so on. In other words, it looks like a sort of “inspirational wave” floods the city’s districts (not only the fashionable Brera or 5 Vie, but also Lambrate, Tortona etc.) to demonstrate that the urban environment can react to the daily routine, and transform the ordinary into something of extraordinary.

Of course there are critics: why it can’t be all the year? Why the next week – once the design events will be over – Milan will return to hide its beauty? I’m not in a position to answer; but as long as I see that this creative magma is still boiling under the city’s asphalt, the enthusiasm’s eruption of the design week is very, very welcome!

Let me stick on this photo, because behind it there’s an epic venture! I took it yesterday night during a walk under the rain. The bicycles shop “Rossignoli” in Corso Garibaldi was open to public, and – as every year – it exposes some legendary bikes such as the one photographed here and used by Gino Bartali during the Tour de France in 1948. That edition of the “Grande Boucle” was truly memorable! To make a long story short (but many books have been written on it) the 1948 edition was the first Tour de France for Bartali since his victory ten years before in 1938, and it came after a disappointing result at the Giro d’Italia: for this reason, he started the race not as favorite. However, he won the first stage leading the race and taking a low profile together with the whole Italian team. After the ninth stage, the lead was taken by Louison Bobet, with more than nine minutes on the second place. But it was a very short domination, since in the tenth stage Bobet lost time and Belgian cyclist Roger Lambrecht reduced the margin to 29 seconds.

Bringing the focus back on Gino Bartali, after the twelfth stage, his distance from the leader of the race was 21 minutes and 28 seconds! Just try to imagine what it can mean, and how was the feeling of the Tuscan cyclist: it’s not surprising that – considering his position – Bartali was sure that his race was compromised and thought about quitting the tour. But that night – here’s when sport becomes history – Bartali received a phone call: I like imagining the scene; he was in bed, tormented by his thoughts on the race, but on the other side of the line there’s was Alcide De Gasperi, Prime Minister of Italy. De Gasperi told him that a few days earlier Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist Party, had been shot by a terrorist: this episode caused popular turmoils and Italy was on the edge of a civil war. For this reason, De Gasperi asked Bartali to do his best to win a stage, because the sport news might distract people from the politics. Bartali replied that he would do better.

The next day, Bartali won the stage (number 13) with a large margin, jumping at the second position in the general classification and trailing by only 66 seconds. The days after (stages 14 and 15) he won again, and took over the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification. Bobet was now in second place with several minutes behind. In the sixteenth stage his direct competitors lost time, so he increased his lead to 32 minutes! From that moment, his lead was never endangered, the Italian excitement about the Tour de France increased, and the political tensions quieted.

So, photographing the bicycle of this epic venture was worth the walk under the rain… wasn’t it?

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The Floor at Agora Meyhanesi 1890 Restaurant (Fatih, Istanbul)

Istanbul (Turkey). I’m posting an old photo that I found in my archive and captured almost two years ago. I was in a typical fish restaurant in Istanbul (for food lovers, the name is Agora Meyhanesi 1890 and it’s in Fatih, in the Fener district along the Golden Horn) and I noticed this floor during my dinner. I found the sense of “orderly chaos” behind this design very intriguing, and for this reason I took this photo (although there was very few light, but this is just a technical aspect).

Photographing Around Me is also this (as I clearly write in the Manifesto): posting old photos only because one day they come back to my mind. The fact that this floor has ccome back to my mind just because I’m going to refurbish home well, this is an irrelevant detail!

Istanbul. Posto una vecchia foto che ho ritrovato nel mio archivio e che ho scattato quasi due anni fa. Avevo notato questo pavimento durante una cena in un caratteristico ristorante di pesce a Istanbul (per gli amanti del buon cibo, si chiama Agora Meyhanesi 1890 e si trova a Fatih, nel quartiere di Fener lungo il Corno d’Oro). Ho trovato il senso di “caos ordinato” dietro questo disegno molto intrigante, e per questo avevo catturato questa immagine (nonostante ci fosse pochissima luce, ma questo è un dettaglio tecnico).

Photographing Around Me è anche questo (come scrivo chiaramente nel mio Manifesto): postare foto vecchie di anni, solo perché un bel giorno mi tornano in mente… il fatto poi che questo pavimento mi sia tornato in mente perchè sto iniziando a ristrutturare casa, beh questo è un dettaglio irrilevante.

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Love is a Padlock and a Bridge (Pont des Arts)

Paris (France). Once upon a time there were serenades and love letters. Today, there are padlocks and bridges’ fences. I don’t know honestly what brings couples to demonstrate their love each others in this bizarre way – locking a padlock to a fence. But it seems that municipalities are not accepting it, because the extra load of hundreds of locks is causing the fences’ collapse. Paris – for example – is replacing the fence of Pont des Arts with a Plexiglas panel. What will people invent? We will see…

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Time To Say Goodbye

Udine (Italy). We became immediately great friends, and we walked hundreds and hundreds of kilometres all around the world together. It’s not an easy moment, I’m close to cry, but in case like this one there’s no alternative. Thanks for these wonderful years, we had great moments, but now it’s time to separate each others and to say goodbye to my old pair of Birkenstock sandals. A new one already came…

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Silence! The Chef is Creating – At Contraste Milano

Milan (Italy). How can the Contraste restaurant recently (September 2015) opened in Milano be defined? It’s not just a restaurant: people don’t go there simply for “eating something”.

I started this post writing my feelings about this place: not only the food, but also the atmosphere and, in general, my personal experience. Then, I deleted everything I had written! Why?

Very simply, because I think that

food is – in this respect – incredibly similar to photography. It’s such a personal and intimate experience, that it’s illogical taking for granted the opinion of the others.

What I can do, is recommending this place – not necessarily because it’s good (perhaps someone could find it “normal”, or even “outrageous”) – but because for sure it offers an absolutely unique experience.

Around each dish, there’s an accurate and meticulous research on ingredients, as well as on composition and on balancing of flavors. The customer becomes spectator of something going beyond the simple “tasting”, other senses are involved: sighting, smelling and touching of course, but also hearing, when you listen to the story of what you are going to heat (or have just eaten).

At the restaurant entrance (although it looks like an apartment, with few tables in what is a dining room with a living room) there’s this nice “welcome”: a face comes out from a dark wall, and with the finger at the nose looks saying “silence! The Chef is creating”. And the chef is just there, you can see him at work through the keyhole in the wall…

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Playing During a Plane Day

Milan (Italy). Sometimes you find your inspiration in what you see daily… so you decide to take your camera out of your pocket, prepare your composition and assume your daily dose of capture your daily photo. Then you go back home, develop the file and “play” a little bit more than usually with the software.

Anyway. This staircase is in the building where I work! For this reason, the title is “Playing During a Plane Day”

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France Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Milan (Italy). I finally had the opportunity of visiting Expo Milano 2015, the Universal Exhibition hosted in Milan from May 1 to October 31, 2015.

Unfortunately, as expected, the queues were too long and it was impossible to visit more than five or six pavilions in a day. The waiting time to see Brasil, Japan or Italy was more than three hours, and I found it very frustrating.

Therefore, I decided to take some photos: I brought my Leica with me and it was a nice exercise. Some pavilions (Russia and Germany, for example) have a terrace which offers a decent view over the exposition area.

Here are some samples: all my photos of Expo are tagged with “Expo Milan 2015” and can be seen clicking here.

The image here has been taken inside the France pavilion (one of the few ones I could see) and shows one of the Country’s characteristics: its wide production of seeds and agricultural products.

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Sunday Afternoon at Caffè Marchesi

Milan (Italy). This is a luxury place: for its products, for its position and – it must be told – for its prices. But I think it is worth taking a break at the cafè Pasticceria Marchesi, recently opened in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II by the fashion brand Prada – which has bought the brand of this historical pastry shop. Especially in winter, when it’s cold and a refreshing pause doesn’t hurt.

The story of this place began in 1824, when the Marchesi family opened a pastry shop inside an elegant eighteenth century building in Corso Magenta in Milan, where it continued its activity till the beginning of 900. Thereafter, Mr. Angelo Marchesi expanded his range of products creating an authentic cafe, with home made pastries, cocktails and the typical Milanese aperitif.

Recently, as anticipated here above, the fashion house Prada has bought the brand “Pasticceria Marchesi” and has opened two new locations (in addition to the historical one in Corso Magenta). One in Via Montenapoleone – indisputable the most fashion street in Milan; the other one in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, from whose windows I took other photo.

Recently, I learned that Prada is going to open in Milan downtown one of its Foundation subsidiary, which will be exclusively focused on photography. If true, it’s really a great news!

Milano. E’ un posto di lusso: nei prodotti, nella posizione, e – va detto – nei prezzi. Ma penso che una sosta al caffè Pasticceria Marchesi in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, da poco aperto dalla griffe di moda Prada che ha rilevato il marchio di questo storico negozio, valga la pena – specialmente d’inverno, quando fa freddo e una pausa ristoratrice non guasta.

La storia di questo caffè inizia nel 1824, quando all’interno di un elegante edificio settecentesco in Corso Magenta a Milano viene aperta una pasticceria che continuerà la sua attività di produzione dolciaria fino ai primi anni del Novecento. Successivamente, Angelo Marchesi amplia la sua gamma di prodotti e dà vita a un vero e proprio caffè che oltre a offire dolci di produzione propria, prepara cocktail per l’aperitivo milanese.

Da poco, come detto sopra, la casa di moda Prada ha comprato il marchio “Pasticceria Marchesi” e ha aperto due nuovi caffè in aggiunta alla location storica di Corso Magenta: uno in Via Montenapoleone – indiscussa strada della moda milanese; un altro in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, dalle cui finestre ho scattato quest’altra foto.

Recentemente ho letto che Prada aprirà in centro a Milano una succursale della sua Fondazione, dedicata esclusivamente alla fotografia. Se confermato, è proprio una bella notizia!


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