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Zeiss Distagon T* 3.5/18 ZF.2

Parisian Sky

Paris (France). “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”. Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet (1861 – 1941). This is how I’m trying to feel today.

This photo has been taken from a building’s courtyard at Le Marais, in Paris. Time ago.


Parigi (Francia). “Le nuvole giungono fluttuando nella mia vita, non più per portare pioggia o per annunciare la tempesta, ma per aggiungere colore al mio cielo al tramonto”. Rabindranath Tagore, poeta indiano (1861 – 1941). Oggi cerco di sentirmi così.

Questa foto è stata fatta dal cortile di un palazzo nel Marais, a Parigi. Tempo fa.

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What’s Currently in My Bag?

Milan (Italy). Sometimes I receive message from people that are curious to know what is in my bag. They are confused – and I can understand them – because I frequently post photos taken months, if not years, before. And this contributes to their curiosity.

I’m just back from summer holidays, which is the period of the year when I stress use my cameras and lenses most. So, it is also an opportunity to test them and develop my opinion about what I have in my hands.

This blog – let me just remind it one more time – has not any purpose to test, promote or review photographic gears. There are excellent (and definitely much more popular) blogs that do it excellently. This is a blog to show and share my photos, but I understand that sometimes it can be interesting knowing what camera or lens has been used to capture a determined image.

This summer I decided to travel a bit lighter than I did in the past. While in January – during a trip around Vietnam – I brought one Nikon D810 and one Nikon Df, with only prime lenses (24, 35, 58, 105), this August I brought only the Nikon Df with one Zeiss 18, one Voigtlander 40, an old glorious Nikon 55, a 105 and a 180 together with a Leica Q. Basically, i was walking with the Leica in my hand, taking the Df out of my bag for some specific situations…

Will I remain with this configuration? Who knows… I must admit that I’m quite curious to see what Leica is doing and preparing. Some rumors talk about a new system, and I’m quite excited about this idea. At the same time, I think that the Nikon Df is still the only DSLR that can stay in my bag, and I will not replace it for another camera with the same technology.

Let’s see…

Ah, this photo has been taken with an iPhone 🙂

 

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Damien Hirst – Lost Love at Fondazione Prada

Milan (Italy). Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to visit the newly opened Prada Foundation (Fondazione Prada) in Milan – Largo Isarco, 2. The Foundation is hosted in a former industrial site, amazingly redeveloped and reconverted in spaces for exhibitions and cultural activities. It includes also a very trendy bar, designed by the popular movie maker Wes Anderson (author of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”, just to mention some among his most popular movies).

I promised to myself that I will come to visit the Prada Foundation again soon to take photographs specifically of the buildings, the interior spaces and the architectures (only these things alone are worth a visit). The photo posted here – together with the other two linked at this tag – has been taken inside the “Cisterna” (cistern), a huge building divided in three parts and hosting the temporary exhibition called “Trittico”. Trittico envisages “a dynamic display strategy” and is made by “three carefully selected works from the Collezione Prada, installed at a time and periodically rotating” (from the official website). The name of this installation is Lost Love by Damien Hirst: it’s a cubic submerged gynecologist’s office transformed into an aquarium populated by colored fishes.

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Tom Friedman – Untitled at Fondazione Prada

Milan (Italy). Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to visit the newly opened Prada Foundation (Fondazione Prada) in Milan – Largo Isarco, 2. The Foundation is hosted in a former industrial site, amazingly redeveloped and reconverted in spaces for exhibitions and cultural activities. It includes also a very trendy bar, designed by the popular movie maker Wes Anderson (author of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”, just to mention some among his most popular movies).

I promised to myself that I will come to visit the Prada Foundation again soon to take photographs specifically of the buildings, the interior spaces and the architectures (only these things alone are worth a visit). The photo posted here – together with the other two linked at this tag – has been taken inside the “Cisterna” (cistern), a huge building divided in three parts and hosting the temporary exhibition called “Trittico”. Trittico envisages “a dynamic display strategy” and is made by “three carefully selected works from the Collezione Prada, installed at a time and periodically rotating” (from the official website). The name of this installation is Untitled by Tom Friedman: a scattered motion of plastic pictograms.

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Watching Paris From Notre Dame

Paris (France). I posted a similar photo some days ago: in that case the lens – my beloved Nikon 105 mm Defocus Control – was on the so called “gargoyle”, one of the bizarre sculptures decorating the Notre Dame Cathedral. The image posted here has been taken from the same place, but with a wide angle Zeiss lens to capture a wide landscape of Paris under a beautiful cloudy sky.

I have been desiring to go to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral for years, but every time I was discouraged by an incredibly long queue, with waiting times of some hours! When recently I finally had the opportunity of being in Paris on a Monday morning, I did not hesitate one minute and I went straight to Notre Dame around one hour before the opening. I wasn’t the first of the line – some Japaneses arrived earlier than me, of course! – but I could enter 20 minutes after the opening: still it was a success! “Such a long waiting time must be compensated by a gorgeous landscape”, I was thinking when I was climbing the tower’s steps: so getting closer to the top I was more and more nervous, because my expectations were very high and the biggest risk was to be disappointed.

However, at the end I can say that it was a successful experience: the landscape of Paris from Notre Dame is something of breathtaking, especially when the light is not too sharp. The entrance is regulated, so the downside is the long queue, but the upside is that on the top it is not too crowded and everyone can find the time to concentrate and shoot. One last but important advice: it can be bloody cold and windy over there, so bring an extra layer and be prepared…

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The Haunted House at Fondazione Prada in Milan

Milan (Italy). Time ago I visited the Fondazione Prada (Prada Foundation): I wrote some posts about very interesting exhibitions hosted at that time (Thomas Demand, Tom Friedman, Pino Pascali and Damien Hirst), but I didn’t say too much about what is probably the most capturing aspect of this place: the architecture of its spaces.

So, I decided to expand the tag “Fondazione Prada” with some photos focused exclusively on the architectures – with the intention of going there again and taking some more shots.

The Fondazione Prada is a very interesting example of conversion and reutilization of a former and abandoned industrial space into something of completely different. The architects of OMA Studio leaded by the Dutch starchitect Rem Koolhaas worked to keep the original structure – possibly adapting the existing spaces to the needs of a museum – but still giving the feeling to visitors of being in a place totally new, as if it had been built from scratch.

While I was walking around pavilions and photographing around me (this sentence sounds familiar) I was noticing that the majority of structures was not totally new, therefore I still could imagine the site “as it was” in the past, functioning for its original scope (a distillery). But at the same time, some elements – such as for example the “Haunted House” – were bringing me to another dimension, both temporal (for the modernity of their design) and architectural (for the striking contrast of colors and materials). The result, for me, was a sort of “temporal confusion”, something of very intriguing, and that made me conclude that a visit to the Fondazione Prada is absolutely recommended.

Some more photos will follow. Here I used the Nikon Df (the only reflex I still have, and I love it!) mounted with a wide angle Zeiss Distagon ZF.2 18 mm lens.

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Frank Gehry for the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Paris (France). The futuristic building, which hosts the Louis Vuitton Foundation (or “Fondation Louis Vuitton” in French) is one of those places where you can spend an entire day, walking up and down the stairs as well as exploring its halls, without getting bored. Furthermore, if you like architecture photography, you will enjoy the challenge of shooting a place characterized by “irregular” shapes, and which seems a ship with sails swollen by the wind. I found photographing this place, designed by the “starchitect” Frank Gehry, at the same time tough and exciting, a truly demanding experience; and I could not enjoy it more!

The photo here is just one of the many I captured during my visit: the light was creating some difficulties and I decided to include in the composition the interesting fountain outside the building. What is difficult to give is the real dimension of the entire structure: it’s really big, but I hardly could find a place to shoot it in its entire development. More photos will follow with the next posts (I will create the tag “Louis Vuitton Foundation”); for the moment, I recommend this place if you are planning a trip to Paris. It’s not the “typical” Parisian location (probably for this reason I liked it even more) although at the time I visited it, there was an amazing exhibition of paintings (Munch, Matisse, Picasso, Brancusi, Mondrian, Malevich just to mention some).

Another plus: the Louis Vuitton Foundation is in the middle of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a very beautiful garden, very silent and far from the crowd.

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Notre Dame from the Docks Along the Seine

Paris (France). Everyone traveling to Paris and photographing around this fantastic location, should try to find some places from where watching the city without the usual mass of people. It can be a tough mission, but it is worth the effort.

This photograph of Notre Dame Cathedral – for example – has been taken from under a bridge on the docks along the Seine River, and it is now one of my favorite images of my large portfolio of photos about Paris.

Of course, the wide angle lens exalts the general composition and makes the entire scene more “drammatic”, but the thing that I like most in this image is the sense of “intimacy” with the Cathedral that I can perceive, and which is the same one I was feeling when I was shooting this image. The reason – as said – I think is that in the entire scene there’s no anyone: a pure and genuine sense of relationship with the subject, without any obstacle or element of annoyance.

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French Ministry of Culture and Communication

Paris (France). The French Ministry of Culture and Communication is located in the heart of Paris (just behind the Louvre, and close to Rue Saint Honoré) and is a very interesting example of contemporary architecture. The façade was designed and realized by Francis Soler in 2004, but what few people know is that the design was freely inspired by the painting of Giulio Romano at Palazzo Tè in Mantova: the architect said that he used the computer to deform people in Giulio Romano’s paintings, transforming each human being into a sort of arabesque. The name of this modern sculpture is “The Silver Net” (in French, “Résille argentée”) and the entire façade has been made of laser-cut stainless steel sheets.

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