Today is a special day for Maggie Barrett. The novel Maggie was writing during the time I made all these ‘Every day in the year’ photographs, was published just today, and I want to celebrate this with all of you, if I may. Not only have I lived through the journey of watching a novel be published, but I played a small part in its publishing in that Maggie chose one of my Elements photographs for the book jacket, and, with great pleasure, I made the Author’s photograph. And you have seen many Maggies during this year.
For those of you who may have followed Maggie’s Blog, http://www.feelingourwayaround.com you know how interesting a writer she is. But if you have not, then you may be curious to see for yourself what a provocative and witty writer she is. The book; “From Dusk to Dawn” by Maggie Barrett, is now available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Enjoy the trip.
There is nothing the Italians enjoy more than eating. And when they can gather at some long communal table and be eating outside on a summery evening, they love it! It’s a way to meet new people, or be with old friends, or simply take a chance on whatever life throws their way. It’s a custom that goes way back and small towns all over Tuscany, and I’m sure all over Italy, continue the tradition.
I always find something to shoot when I’m there, portraits of my table companions, the behavior of the young kids who are doing the serving, the musicians who stroll on through, the dancing later on, and sometimes fireworks.
August is the time of year, it seems, when friends passing through Tuscany make their way to your door. In popped Ciro, now in our life for 20 years! That in itself is amazing! When we started our Tuscany Photography and Writing Workshops here in 1995 he was our first assistant along with his buddy, Giorgio, and we have stayed in each others lives all this time. It’s been great to see their work grow, watch them flounder around with girl friends, marriages that come and go, children being born, new work being created and new risks taken, and at the same time watch them grow older, like our own children are doing. It’s real life!
We went to a friend’s restaurant knowing we’d have great food and a good time, and it was even better and funnier than we expected. Celebrations are great moments for making pictures for all the usual reasons; the special moment, the memories, the friends who one day won’t be around but are captured in their liveliest expressions and stay that way for us. Here are four women from 16 to 66 who span the generations yet look so comfortable and beautiful together
Often the camera does things that can only show up as visible in a photograph; that’s the magic of the medium. Maggie ‘s cake came out with a sparkler blazing away, and when I made the shot the sparkler had a fraction of a moment of less sparkle before exploding again, and in that space the shutter – at 1/ 30th of a second – was open long enough to make 2 recordings of everything.
Then someone put on a Berlusconi mask and just as in his real life the women flocked to him. And here again an accidental ‘catch’ occurred, someone else’s flash went off just as I opened my shutter and it produced this ‘bronzy,’ garish color and hard light.
We had just stepped outside so Maggie could read another chapter to me when Luana, our close friend, stopped by. She saw Maggie’s hat, and since it’s not her usual style, she wanted to try it on, and so I was witness to the give and take between two beautiful women as they played with the hat.
It was nice to be the ‘fly on the wall’ for a few moments and see the kind of fun women can have with something as goofy as a hat, and it allowed me to make a couple of portraits that had simple spontaneity and genuine expression, rather than those more reserved moments when people put on their camera face.
Being read a story in the late hours of a warm summer day is a little like being a kid again and submitting to the pleasures of the tale and dreaming while listening. Those evening readings were pure joy and often, while Maggie was reading, I would photograph her, or sometimes make a video so I could hold on to the sweetness of the memory of that time in our lives. That was the year we decided to come back to live full time in Italy.
The halo of light around her head in the darkening of the day, and her physical concentration and intensity, like an actress preparing for a role and searching for the ‘voice’ of the character, kept me glued to her every nuance of gesture and tone. Little observations like that, even with someone you know well, can give an ordinary moment meaning.