Hue (Vietnam). The value of some photos is in remembering a special moment. I met these two young monks at the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue while I was walking and admiring this wonderful place. They were praying, but they made me understand that they were not disturbed by my presence. I staid in a corner, without taking photos but simply watching them and letting the peace generated by that moment pervading myself. When they finished, before closing the room where they were praying, they made me understand that I could take a photos of them – it was like a remuneration for my silent respect of their activity. At the end, I had the feeling that they were even happy to be photographed: as said, it was a special moment…
Street & People
Moscow (Russia). Now that I created the new tag “Moscow”, I should feed it with more and more posts from my recent short-but-intense weekend there. Here there is a photo literally “captured” inside the Cathedral of the Annunciation, a wonderful Orthodox Church located inside the Kremlin and characterized by stunning but elegant paintings on the walls and on the ceiling.
To take this image I used the iPhone app for Leica Q – which works perfectly – so after connecting the camera with the phone, I was able to remotely control it, finding all the camera settings and adjustments directly in the phone’s screen. I think this is a great feature for street photographers (both authentic ones and wannabes like me) because it gives complete freedom to shot in some restricted environments, as well as to get closer to people without being noticed or without pointing the camera at their face. Considering that in these days people do not like being photographed – and some overreact – this feature and this app may save my life…
Milan (Italy). I took this photograph some weeks ago – I think it was last June. In that occasion I discovered that shooting photos from a tram can be a very interesting opportunity for some nice situations: Milan has many trams moving all around the city, although unfortunately some of them have no windows that can be opened.
The more I see the city from the window of a tram (or even inside the tram itself), the more I understand that there’s a life from / in there. A tram offers a privileged observation point, giving to the observer those centimeters above everybody else to see the city in a different way; furthermore, trams go from the city downtown to the periphery, showing the urban transition and development. Last but not least, inside every tram there’s an entire world made of people, their faces and their stories.
In this sense, street photography cameras like the Leica Q or the Ricoh GR are great tools. They both have the exact focal length I need (28 mm, the latter on APS-C sensor). And – this is a fundamental aspect – they are fast!
On this basis, I intend to continue this sort of project, take it as a resolution. Maybe I will create a specific tag for this. Stay tuned, let’s see what I will able to do.
Erzincan (Turkey). Many days ago I found myself in the middle of nowhere a bit far from Erzincan, along the Euphrates river, for business. Driving off-road along a narrow and tortuous track, my attention was captured by an abandoned house, which had probably been transformed by local people in something else. I asked the driver to leave me there, while the rest of the team was proceeding for some kilometers before coming back and pick me up. I was a bit shocked by graffitis of guns, and probably I had been crazy because nobody knew about my presence there and I could had been easily kidnapped. The area was not safe at all, and I knew it, but – still – I wanted to stay there and capturing this photograph.
I titled it “Interior Design” since I was mostly concentrated on the wall’s graffitis and writings.
Marrakesh. The Dutch painter Adriaen Matham defined the seventeenth century El Badi Palace as “a wonder of the world”. It seems this place was not only majestic in terms of dimensions (there were pools and many other palaces inside it) but also incredibly sumptuous thanks to its decorations with gold, marble and mosaics. The name itself in Arabic means “The Incomparable”, just in order to show its ambitions.
However, visiting the El Badi Palace today, it’s a bit hard to imagine it as described above. There are just some courtyards remaining, so the main characteristic of this place is its perimeter walls hosting many storks. These animals are very respected by people in Marrakesh also thanks to the prayer-like prostration when at rest; Berbers themselves believed that storks are actually transformed humans, and according to the local law the offence of disturbing a stork can carry a three-month prison sentence.
Preparing this photo for my blog, I particularly remembered that when I visited the El Badi Palace, it was terribly hot, but after all Marrakesh at the end of June is not exactly a very easy place to walk around.
Marrakesh. Il secentesco Palazzo El Badi fu definito dal pittore olandese Adriaen Matham “una meraviglia del mondo”. Pare che fosse un luogo non solo imponente come dimensioni (con piscine e altri palazzi al suo interno) ma anche incredibilmente sfarzoso grazie alle sue decorazioni in oro, marmo e mosaici. Il nome stesso in Arabo significa Palazzo Incomparabile, così per dare un’idea delle sue ambizioni.
A guardarlo oggi, non si riesce a immaginarlo come descritto sopra. Rimangono giusto alcuni cortili, per cui la principale caratteristica sono i muri perimetrali che danno ospitalità a numerose cicogne. Questi animali sono tenuti in grande considerazione dalla popolazione di Marrakesh anche grazie alla posizione che assumono quando si riposano, molto simile a quella di un fedele in preghiera. Gli stessi Berberi credevano che le persone alla loro morte si trasformassero in cicogne e pare ci sia persino una legge che prevede fino a tre mesi di carcere per chi maltratta questi animali.
Mentre preparavo questa foto per il blog, mi sono ricordato che quando ho visitato il Palazzo El Badi era un caldo infernale, ma del resto Marrakesh a fine giugno non è esattamente un posto facile da girare.
Florence (Italy). It’s not easy walking around Florence without being captured by its uncountable number of beautiful things. Churches, facades, museums, landscapes … everything enchants not only its visitors, but also its residents (me included, although I’m not a resident anymore).
For this reason, I really enjoy walking around Florence and photographing something different from the usual “postcards”, and I confess that I find great sources of inspiration in the many narrow alleys, which probably have been looking the same since the Medieval Age.
Via delle Bombarde, the narrow street photographed here, goes from Borgo Santi Apostoli to Via delle Terme – few meters from the Arno River, more or less framed between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita. Today it’s a picturesque abandoned passage, but if I imagine this street many years ago, during the Medieval Age, I should complete the picture including several prostitutes in the frame. Oh yes, Via delle Bombarde – unfortunately the name is impossible to be translated – was one of the streets of prostitution in Florence (and it was not the only one in town!) and still today, the word “bombardino” is a synonymous of “protettore” (the italian word for “pimp”, although it’s local slang).
Milan (Italy). The pedestrian bridge of Porta Genova, with its structure and graffitis, gives the feeling of an urban jungle – especially by night…
Venice (Italy). Beyond its typical and “ultra-photographed” landscapes (and I must include myself in this category), photographing around Venice can offer wonderful moments of so called “chiaroscuro”. Moving away from the Gran Canal or the Rialto Bridge and walking along secondary streets, gives the possibility of seeing narrow canals only partially illuminated, The strong contrast given by half scene completely dark and the other one warm and sunny is nice, and makes photos of Venice look like some paintings from the artistic movement called “Macchiaioli”.
The photo here is an example.
Amasya (Turkey). I was visiting a hydro power plant today, and this nice lovely puppy of Kangal dog came to play with me. Kangal is a Turkish breed of guardian dog: when they grow they become very big and loyal… So, considering the context, I decided that he was the guardian of the entire power station.
Istanbul (Turkey). This photograph was taken some weeks ago: while waiting for the ferry to leave from Besiktas to Kadikoy, this man isolates himself from the rest of the world. I think it gives perfectly the sense of loneliness that you can experience in Istanbul – which is ironic, if you think about the several millions of people living there. As I always say, Istanbul is a city of contradictions, and this is one of them