Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Panic Saturday in Milan

Milan (Italy). Have you ever heard the term “Panic Saturday”? It is currently defined as the Saturday before Christmas, when people go around flowing into streets and shopping malls looking for the last-minute gift. Yesterday I was walking around Milan downtown, and this is what I found in front of my eyes: I though that all these people were perfectly transmitting the sense of “panic” – at least, I was panicking thinking about even only the idea of walking through this human wall…

Ok, I was at what is probably one of the most popular spot in town: the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with it’s decorated dome shining of blue crystals, and characterised by luxury shops selling expensive products. It is perfectly logic that places like this attract thousands of people, both locals and tourists. But the situation was really terribly “dense”, and therefore I tried to represent the contrast between the shining, clean and preciously decorated interior of the Galleria, against the dark and chaotic mass of people.

Happy “Panic Saturday” to all…

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Afternoon at the Museo del Novecento

Milan (Italy). After a rainy Saturday in Florence, I think I deserved a wonderful sunny Monday (April 25th is bank holiday in Italy) in Milan! I spent some hours between Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento: the first one is currently hosting a very interesting exhibition about Umberto Boccioni, an Italian painter and sculptor, known for being a main actor of the Futurism movement (his works are exhibited at several prestigious museums including the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York); the second one, among some works from Boccioni himself, includes works (paintings and sculptures) made by artists from the XX Century such as De Chirico, Modigliani, Kandinskij, Klee and many others.

It was not my first time at the Museo del Novecento, but this is such a beautiful place that it is worth more than one single visit. And not only for its paintings and sculptures, but also for the building interior design, with a spiral staircase which brings the visitors from the ticket booth to the museum entrance, and for its arrangement on several floors, ending at the top of the building where a wonderful windowed room offers an unique landscape over the Cathedral’s Square.

Of course, once arrived here I captured many photos, including some without anyone (I went there late afternoon, when the museum was going to close). But at the end I selected this one because the presence of some people doing different things (chatting, photographing or simply watching the fantastic landscape) makes it more “alive”, more realistic, more dynamic. As usual, I found my “comfort zone” trying to find the room symmetry, exalted by the geometric weft of the windows’ frame. Out of the window, the Milan Cathedral and the arch of the Vittorio Emanuele’s Gallery – with an intense blue sky in the background.

As said, I found in this scene – with its light and colors – an opportunity for people, architecture and landscape photography at the same time and the perfect (and well-deserved) compensation after a rainy weekend in Florence!

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Wide Angle Landscape of Piazza Duomo in Milan

Milan (Italy). A photographic sequence of the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) in Milan, merged together to create a landscape prospectively anomalous, but interesting to be watched. These images have been taken from the restaurant Giacomo Arengario at the Museo del Novecento – one of my favorite places in Milan (from) where shooting photos.

Milano (Italia). Una serie di scatti in sequenza di Piazza Duomo a Milano, uniti insieme per creare una panoramica prosetticamente anomala, ma secondo me divertente da guardare. Le foto sono state scattate dal ristorante Giacomo Arengario presso il Museo del Novecento (uno dei miei posti preferiti a Milano da / in cui scattare foto)

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Love in Milan (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II)

Milan (Italy). The historic café Pasticceria Marchesi is not only a great place for a nice refreshment in the heart of Milan, but it has also amazing windows looking on the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, through which it’s possible photographing a patch of Milanese life.

Milano. Lo storico caffè Pasticceria Marchesi non solo è un posto ideale per un piacevole ristoro in centro a Milano, ma ha anche delle bellissime finestre sulla Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II attraverso le quali fotografare un po’ di vita milanese.

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Testing the Leica M-D (Misunderstanding at Prada Shop, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II)

Milan (Italy). Frankly speaking, although in the post title I wrote “testing”, this was not a proper test.

First of all, because who am I to test a camera? I’m just a “passionate user of photo devices” and I intend cameras as instruments for creating positive feelings – that’s it.

Second point, because there are so many official and unofficial tests on this camera around internet, that mine would be “just another one”. Who cares of it?

Third, and probably most important aspect: what’s the sense of testing a camera that is the essence of pure photography? The sensor? Well, it’s the “usual” 24-megapixel high-resolution CMOS full-frame sensor. The screen? There’s no screen in the Leica M-D. The effects? Please, don’t make me insist…

So, all above considered and to be more precise, this was not a test: this was an experience.

Yes, the correct title should have been “experiencing the new Leica M-D”, concentrating the whole content on my feelings and emotions with this fantastic camera. And probably, the best feeling that explains what is photographing with a Leica M-D, is the same that a swimmer has when she starts swimming from shallow to deep water – does it give the idea? For a large number of photographers, the presence of a screen on the back of the camera (to review the captured images) represents a sort of comfort zone, given by the opportunity of instantaneously check what has been photographed. The new Leica M-D – let me be a bit “hard” – gives a kick to photographers’ backs, saying “ok, if you call yourself a photographer, demonstrate that you are confident enough to survive without the screen!”. On the other side, a photographer must love this kind of challenge – at least, I did!

So, I walked randomly around Milan downtown for more or less one hour. A sort of touristic tour around Piazza Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza dei Mercanti, capturing photos and being exclusively concentrated on what I was doing. No distractions. No feeling a sense of accomplishment, because I had no idea of what I had captured. My eye was only on the street through the viewfinder, not down on the screen zooming-in&out to see the result of my previous clicks, and potentially risking to miss another shot (I guess that film photographers perfectly understand). Yes, this is the true difference of the Leica M-D: with a screen camera, you constantly bear the risk of being distracted by the screen itself (eventually missing a better capture, the next – decisive – moment) and of feeling the sense of accomplishment that a photographer should never feel. With the Leica M-D, photography is a pure action, done straight forwardly to the subject, the scene, the situation.

This is my feeling. And I think I will experience it again, since I’m seriously considering to buy this camera. Yes, because – as clearly stated here in my blog’s manifesto – I buy the cameras I use, and I’m totally free to say what I think.

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Inside but Outside (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele from the Osservatorio, Fondazione Prada)

Milan (Italy). For those who can’t recognize it, this is the dome of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (the one that for Christmas is decorated with blue lights). But instead of the typical capture from the ground (taken by me too) this time it has been photographed from outside, more precisely from the Osservatorio, Fondazione Prada’s new exhibition space located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and dedicated to photography and visual languages.

To be honest, the exhibition I attended at the end of January didn’t drive me crazy. Except for some authors, I found the photographs exhibited here a bit too much “cutting edge”, but it could be my limit. However, the location is really amazing, even suggestive, thanks to the fact it offers an alternative – opposite – view to the one people are used to see.

And at the end of the visit, it’s a good idea having a break at the Caffè Marchesi to enjoy a cup of coffee and to re-familiarize with the typical view of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milano. Per quelli che non la riconoscono, questa è la cupola della Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (quella che a Natale diventa tutta blu, per intendersi). Invece della solita ripresa dal basso (che peraltro ho fatto anche io) questa volta l’ho fotografata dall’esterno, più precisamente da Osservatorio, il nuovo spazio espositivo della Fondazione Prada in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II a Milano dedicato alla fotografia e ai linguaggi visivi.

La mostra che ho visitato a fine gennaio non mi ha fatto impazzire, devo dirlo. A parte alcuni autori, ho trovato le fotografie esposte un po’ troppo “all’avanguardia”, ma ammetto potrebbe essere un mio limite. In ogni caso, la location è veramente bella, direi quasi suggestiva, proprio grazie al fatto che offre uno sguardo alternativo – opposto – a quello solito a cui siamo abituati.

E a fine visita, vale la pena fermarsi al Caffè Marchesi per una tazza di caffè e per “riambientarsi” alla tipica vista degli spazi della Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

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