The Arab Room at the Palácio da Bolsa in Porto

Porto (Portugal). Let me be very frank and honest – this time I quote myself:

if there’s anything I’ve been loved more and more since I started my deep and intense relationship with photography, it is the feeling that I’m capturing photos more often for myself instead of for the others.

Why I’m saying this? Let me go back with my mind… In the past years, especially at the beginning when I started taking photos, the final step of my workflow was just uploading and sharing my captures on social media such as Facebook and Flickr: the purpose, for each shot, was raising the largest possible number of “likes” or “shares”. And as such, my opinions about my photos were strongly conditioned (if not even determined) by their “popularity”, something now I can’t even think about…

Year after year, increasing my self confidence with the camera(s), I implicitly began to be more “neutral” on what the others were saying about my captures. I don’t want to say that I’m more clever; but for sure, I don’t care about receiving lots confirmations on social media… As said, I take photos for myself, for my personal, intimate pleasure of doing this, without any economic reason, without any interest in selling any book or promoting any service. I’m totally free, and I love it.

For this reason, I decided to close my “fan-page” on Facebook (yes, I had a fan page) and I dedicated much more time to this blog. Furthermore, I started not uploading original photos on Facebook, but posting directly only their link. This has reduced my popularity – Facebook discourages this way to share contents, and the visibility is very limited by the social media’s algorithm – but of course I do not care at all.

Well, just to avoid any possible misunderstanding: it does not mean that I don’t like interacting with my followers of course! And as the manifesto of Photographing Around Me clearly statesif you leave your comments (including negative critics) I will be happy of caring about them!

I will probably return on these thoughts, since I’m thinking frequently about these things and I have something else to add. But it’s time to talk about the posted photo: I took it at the marvellous Palacio da Bolsa in Porto, Portugal. It’s an interior capture taken at the Arab Room, completely decorated in the exotic Moorish Revival style, fashionable in the 19th century, and used today as reception hall for personalities and heads of state visiting Porto.

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The Central Courtyard at the Palacio da Bolsa in Porto

Porto (Portugal). Yesterday I posted a photo of a nice courtyard in Milan; here today I’m posting the same subject – but this time it is from my recent trip to Porto, the second city of Portugal and one of the most beautiful one.

This sumptuous and elegant neoclassic building is the old Palacio da Bolsa (in English, the Stock Exchange Palace). It’s not used for its original scope anymore: for example, the courtyard photographed here in the past was the negotiations room, and the ceiling is decorated with the emblem of the countries with which Portugal was having commercial relationships.

However, today the Palacio da Bolsa it is still used for the meetings of the local commercial association.and for some special events. During the day, the Palacio da Bolsa opens its doors to visitors, and it is possible to walk along its corridors, as well as to visit its rooms, following a 45 minutes guided tour. I particularly appreciated the fact that during the tour I could shoot photos, and this one is one of my favorite from that visit.

The Palacio da Bolsa is located in the Infante D. Henrique Square in the historical center of Porto, and is designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

To capture this image I used a Leica Q camera: I think its 28 mm lens is very versatile and is very suitable for architecture photography (with a touch of creativity).

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The Cloister of Porto Sé Cathedral

Porto (Portugal). The Sè Cathedral in Porto is one of the most important city’s landmark and attracts thousands of people – tourists and worshippers – every day: for this reason it is normally quite overcrowded.

However its cloister – which is accessible paying a small entrance fee – is totally another place, and when I was walking around it, I was particularly moved by its silence and tranquility. This made my visit particularly pleasant and gave me the opportunity to shoot these amazing Azulejos without anyone around.

What really impressed me and captured my attention, is the visible contrasts on the walls: the grey color of the structure contrasts magnificently with the Azulejos highlighting them and without giving the filling effect of “being too much”; but I found also particularly pleasant another contrast, given by the vertical and regular lines typical of Gothic architecture, versus the irregularity, the fantasy and the two-dimensional shape of Azulejos.

The light coming from the center of the cloister was perfectly enhancing the composition: this is one of my favorite photographs I have taken in Porto.

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Luis I Bridge in Porto

Porto (Portugal). Few days after my post on the Arab Room at Palácio da Bolsa, I’m happy to share another photo taken in Porto: it’s one of the city’s symbols, the marvelous bridge “Luis I” (or, in Portuguese, “Ponte Dom Luís I”), which crosses the Douro river with its 172 meters and two decks (the upper one for the light metro train, and the lower one for cars), connecting Riberira with Jardim do Morro and the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar.

Perhaps it’s because I’m (still) a civil engineer, but I’m always fascinated by bridges. They perfectly combine elegance and functionality, easily becoming not only part of the landscape (I can think about Istanbul, for example) but also a city landmark: Ponte Vecchio in Florence is jut one of many examples; or the Millennium Bridge in London, to mention something of contemporary.

But probably one of my favorite bridge ever is this one crossing the Euphrates river: not so “architecturally” charming, but for sure very exciting to be crossed…

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