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Diladdarno

Florence (Italy). “Diladdarno” (or sometimes “Oltrarno”) is a word that means “on the other side of the Arno river” in the local slang. Technically, Diladdarno is the left bank of the city with reference to the river Arno, which crosses Florence from East to West. And among the bridges that connect the two banks of Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita (both of them in the photo) are the most beautiful. The first one is today a symbol of the city, it hosts prestigious jewellers and it is visited by thousands of tourists every day.

I took this photo from one of the most beautiful observatory points in town: the terrace at the Westin Excelsior Hotel. I could spend hours there, capturing photos and drinking nice cocktails. The view is breathtaking, not only on the river, the bridges and Diladdarno, but also on the Cathedral and the right bank or – as we say here in Florence – “Diquaddarno”!

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Driving from Florence to Siena

Vertine (Italy). I’m writing from a very small place, it’s name is Vertine and it’s between Florence and Siena, in the heart of Chianti close to Radda and Gaiole. Driving from Florence to Siena is one of the most beautiful experience you can have in Italy: the hilly country – named “Chiantishire” because of its popularity among British people – is full vineyards and cypress trees, a wonderful location for landscape photography.

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One More Photo From The Istanbul Marathon

Istanbul (Turkey). In these days I’m posting many photos about the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon (they are all collected under a common tag). The reason is simple: I have lived in Istanbul for many years, and the marathon is one of the best event for capturing very interesting photos; not only of the city – although the landscape from the Bosphorus Bridge is quite extraordinary – but also of people, which gather on the bridge to walk freely and enjoy an unusual Sunday morning.

And – as a photographer – I think that the best observatory point is exactly the mid of the bridge between the two traffic lanes. Well, I admit one reason is due to my addiction for symmetries. But it’s not only for that: I also love to see the human flow coming toward me and observe every single person, alone or in a group. In the behavior of them I try to understand their relationship with the city and, in a wider view, with the whole country. As I already wrote in one of my previous posts about the Istanbul Marathon, the bridge – which normally is a “transit place” to connect two continents – the day of the marathon becomes a gathering place, the place-to-be where people meet “to-be-there” and externalize their feelings, emotions, sentiments, passions and so on.

This Sunday morning Istanbul will meet on the Bosphorus Bridge (the first one). It would be a mistake not being there…

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Thomas Demand – Grotto Process 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 represents the Grotto Process (Processo Grottesco): in order to realize the photographic work “Grotto”, Thomas Demand studied and reproduced a 3D model of a grotto using many layers of cardboard, which “simulate” the geologic stratification, including stalactites and stalagmites (in the lower left corner of the image, the stratification of cardboard layers is pretty evident). The final photo (displayed at the entrance of the room) demonstrates how something perceived as real, at the end is unreal and artificially reproduced.

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Rice Farmers of Vietnam

Chau Doc (Vietnam). Rice is probably the most important element of the Vietnamese cookery, not surprisingly the country is the world’s seventh-largest consumer. Furthermore, Vietnam is – after Thailand – the second largest rice exporter in the world and rice export contributes to a significant part of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. But the third – and not the least – reason why rice is important for Vietnam is the beauty of its fields. Rice paddles are a very popular attraction for tourists visiting Vietnam, and their color, their shape (especially in the norther region of Sapa) as well as the life of rice farmers around them, represent a great opportunity for photographers.

I was visiting the country around Chau Doc on a tuk-tuk, when I saw the typical scene of women with traditional Vietnamese hats, working together in a green rice field. I found the situation very nice and characteristic of the country, so I asked my driver to stop and I spent several minutes looking at them and capturing some images. This is one of them.

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Jane’s Carousel in New York

New York (USA). Jane’s Carousel is one of the magic places in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a very old carousel, you can read the entire history here in the official webpage. I photographed this place one night I was walking around the Brooklyn Bridge: it was a cold winter night (and when I say “cold”, it means “freaking cold”!) with very few people around. When I saw the carousel, it was like a mirage: it was closed, but lights were on and horses in the glassed structure were looking as ready to start their ride again. All around, there were Manhattan’s lights, forming a perfect frame. Somehow, that moment warmed me so much that I spent half-an-hour shooting this scene.

Both last and this December (2013 and 2014), this photograph has been chosen by Jane for the Christmas newsletter. This is the kind of things that make me proud: not only because I’m talking about one of the most popular place in New York City (by the way, this place won the Travel and Leisure 2012 Design Awards as “Best Public Space”), but also because I like to believe that if Jane’s Carousel warmed my heart that night, maybe with my photograph I can now warm someone else’s heart. Isn’t it what a photographer should try to do every time?

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