Category:

Street & People

 

Milan (Italy). Cenaconme (literally translated into “dinner with me”) is an yearly event in Milan: people get together to a place (the name is disclosed few hours before the event itself) with the rule of bringing with them a table, chairs, food, beverages and the total white dress code.

The event happened today in Piazza Castello, a very central square in front of Sforza Castle. I went there with the double intention of assisting to a unique event, but also to test my new Leica Q camera. This few photos have been selected to document the event…

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Commuting Life in Milan

Milan (Italy). Tonight I was going through my photo catalog, and I noticed this image I took some weeks ago when I was on a tram in Milan – I like jumping on a tram with my camera, standing in the back of the coach and photographing life inside and outside – and I was passing from the same crossing where I met a nice juggler (I already wrote a post about him).

Well, I shouldn’t explain my photographs and everyone should have personal and intimate feelings watching an image. For the same reason I shouldn’t explain why I liked this photo… I can only say that I could find something interesting in it, especially in the tram coming from the other direction completing the composition. I imagined about commuting, about moving every day from one point to another, about how life goes on, both inside and outside the tram – the same environment where I was when I took this photo. Trams are like cinemas, there’s always a movie outside and people should try not to get used to the daily show.

For this reason I always have a camera with me: if I think about the world around me as a huge circus (as it is, indeed) or a cinema, there always will be something interesting to photograph. Here we are: this is the reason why I found this photo interesting: because in its normality – in its routine, typical of commuters – it describes something that at my eyes can be perceived as special. And in my opinion, this somehow can be considered as a big privilege.

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Cena Con Me

Milan (Italy). Imagine… thousands of people attending a dinner without knowing anything – really anything, including the location – since few hours before the scheduled time. Only few rules, being the most important one on the dress code.

White!

Yes, this is the spirit of Cena Con Me, an event I already photographed a couple of years ago, but that every time is a surprise. The organizers create the event on Facebook and collects the requests. Then, it communicates the location (in Milan) 5 hours before the time. Since that moment, people start collecting all the items prepared in the past weeks and gather to the selected place.

It happens therefore that a pacific place suddenly becomes a mess: a “white wave” made of people, tables, chairs, plates, glasses, balloons, candle holders, flowers, accessorizes… everything is rigorously white.

Beyond the color, there are few more basic rules: respecting the location leaving the place as it was before the event – therefore carrying away any sort of garbage; and closing the event at midnight.

Under the tag “Cena Con Me 2017” I’m posting some photos of the event. The location is Piazzale Giulio Cesare, the heart of City Life, a very interesting new development, with the amazing skyscrapers of Zaha Hadid and Arata Isozaki in the background.


Milano. Immagina… migliaia di persone che partecipano a una cena senza sapere niente – ma veramente niente, compresa la location – fino a poche ore prima dell’orario programmato. Solo poche regole, tra cui la più importante riguarda l’abbigliamento.

Bianco!

Si, questo è lo spirito di Cena Con Me, un evento che ho già fotografato in passato un paio di anni fa, ma che ogni volta è una sorpresa. Gli organizzatori creano l’evento su Facebook e raccolgono le richieste di partecipazione. Successivamente, comunicano il luogo di svolgimento (a Milano) 5 ore prima l’orario programmato. Da quel momento, la gente inizia a prendere tutte le cose preparate nelle settimane precedenti e a ritrovarsi presso il luogo stabilito.

Succede quindi che una piazza tranquilla diventi improvvisamente un caos: una “onda bianca” fatta di persone, tavoli, sedie, piatti, bicchieri, palloncini, candelabri, fiori, accessori… tutto è rigorosamente bianco.

Oltre al colore, ci sono poche regole di base: rispettare la location lasciando il posto come lo si è trovato prima dell’evento – quindi portando via ogni tipo di rifiuto; e chiudere l’evento a mezzanotte.

Con il tag “Cena Con Me 2017” posto alcune foto dell’evento. La location scelta quest’anno era Piazzale Giulio Cesare, nel cuore di City Life, un nuovo sviluppo urbano molto interessante, con sullo sfondo i bellissimi grattacieli disegnati da Zaha Hadid e da Arata Isozaki.

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Happy 1st Birthday

Sometimes people ask me: “Why you are wasting your time running this photoblog?”. It could be a good question, considering that Photographing Around Me has no advertisements, nor it hosts any link to commercial sites. Yes, this photoblog is a pure cost – not to mention the time I spend (or I should say “I waste”, according to someone’s words) to prepare and post daily photos.

So it could be a good question, but it isn’t.

Today, this photoblog celebrates its first birthday; a year time during which I posted almost 400 photos, and some of them has been shared via Facebook, Twitter or Google+ hundreds and hundreds of times. Around 11,000 people have opened more than 45,000 pages and posts, demonstrating me their loyalty and appreciation. Not to forget that according to alexa.com, Photographing Around Me has climbed the world wide web ranking from the 25,000,000th position to the actual 230,000th. And it is still doing better and better every day.

I already explain here the philosophy of Photographing Around Me. However I want to remark that it’s not only just a photoblog with my photos and thoughts. “Photographing Around Me” is my personal way to watch and to discover the world around me, sharing it with my friends and followers. I want to thank each of you because you gave me the motivation to proceed with this project: the first year is just over but the second one is starting, already characterised by my ambition to do better and better, and to achieve new important results.

Being the final goal still the same: bringing you all with me, and discovering the world together.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

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The Ramadan Drummer

Istanbul (Turkey). Tomorrow, June 18th, is the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (called Ramazan in Turkey). Every night, all around Turkey’s cities – from large ones to villages – a Ramadan drummer (its name should be “Mesaharaty”) will walk around the streets to wake people up before the Sahur (or Suhoor), the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting.

I still remember the first time I was woken up by the passage of a Ramadan drummer: at that time I was on holiday in Goreme (Cappadocia) and initially I thought the drum beats were coming from a local party. Only the day after I learned about this tradition: one night I was moved by curiosity and I decided to look for – and to meet – a real drummer.

I went to Balat, one of the most conservative (and beautiful) district of Fatih, in Istanbul. I had to wait more or less till 3 am before listening to the first beats of a drum, and I was really excited to take part to that event in such a close and thorough way. The drummer was so determined and committed with his task, that he was not at all disturbed about my presence, and I was free to stay few meters behind him. When he saw my camera and understood my intentions, he even invited me to follow him: we walked together through the narrow and old streets that go up and down all around Fener and Balat, and when we were crossing other drummers doing the same, I had the feeling that “mine” was looking proud of my presence. It was a great experience, both photographically and under the human point of view – although a bit challenging for the low light conditions. I took hundreds of photographs in less than half an hour, but I selected this one posted here – which I decided to develop in black and white – as the most representative of a great experience: my special night with a Ramadan drummer.

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La Soglia Magica (Milano Malpensa Airport)

Milan (Italy). Landing at Milano Malpensa Airport and heading to the trains that go to Milan Downtown, you pass through “La Soglia Magica” (The Magic Threshold). It’s supposed to be an artistic – architectural installation, with a sort of curtain made of artificial fog (is it a stereotype of Milan?) coming vertically from the ceiling. Well, it’s a long time I do not see “La Soglia Magica” working (and I fly from / to Malpensa quite frequently), whereas some days ago I saw a tourist sleeping undisturbed on the ground, with the head on his suitcase. I found this scene interesting…

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Singing a Peace Song (Hiroshima 70th anniversary)

Hiroshima (Japan). Today it’s the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, that destroyed more than two thirds of the city killing 70,000 people instantly, with an unknown final death toll.

I visited Hiroshima exactly five years ago: I arrived there very few days after the 65th year celebrations, and I was honestly surprised by this place, which was the protagonist of one of the most horrible episodes in the world history. I was – as said – surprised because I realised that everything in Hiroshima was talking about “peace”: the most famous landmark is the Peace Memorial (commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome), which is also part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, memories are conserved at the Peace Memorial Museum, and the Flame of Peace (designed by Kenzo Tange) burns continuously days and nights since it was lit in 1964 and it will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Yes, “peace”. Walking around Hiroshima – one more time – the most common word is “Peace”. I found in it a very strong message for all of us: a message of hope and forgiveness, something that will be inherited by future generations, something that is difficult to imagine normally, and for this reason it is even more special considering – again – the history of Hiroshima.

When during a night walk along the Ota River, I saw this young Japanese girl playing a song with her guitar, with still the word “Peace” echoing into my mind, I immediately stopped and I stood up listening to her. It was one of those moments that make a trip, and still today – when I think about Japan – the first episode that comes to my mind is this one.

I took this photo (and few others more) because I found the entire scene very symbolic: a peace song played in front of the Peace Memorial (which is mirroring itself on the river’s water surface), in the heart of a city which became an example of “pacific pride” for the rest of the world. It was a perfect moment, no need to explain more.

Today, 5 years after that my personal experience (which is still incredibly vivid in my mind and in my heart) and especially 70 years after that tragic day – when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” killed hundreds of thousands of people – I like to think about Hiroshima in this way, and like its citizens I want to share my humble but heart-felt message of hope and peace.

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