Sometimes Nature just leaves me speechless. The grand spectacle, the changes that happen in a mere 4 or 5 minutes, the scale of the heavens, and the small note of where we stand in relation to it.
We always hear these stories about the ‘Italian Mama in the kitchen.’ Well, we were invited to dinner, 12 of us all told, and here she is making magic on this tiny stove in an equally tiny kitchen. How do they do it?’ And with no stress over how many people, how will it turn out, is this the right mix of dishes, etc? They just do it, and do it nicely dressed at the same time!
Small wonders abound, and it’s always fun and funny, eating in big family style in Italy. So much gets talked about, argued over, dramatized and frankly, I now can see why Opera is this country’s great theatrical tradition. And then came the cake. To say it was light is understating the cloud-like delicacy and subtle complexity of flavors that followed every mouthful.
But really, rather than making still photographs, I should have had a video camera running, because the action is ongoing and all over the field at the same time, so something unexpected is always in play.
I’m flying today from Buonconvento to Florence-Paris-Boston, then to Plymouth, so by the time I’m ready to post this it will be 20 hours of travel time.
I guess what got to me here was the choke-hold of a grip the father had on his son. Maybe it felt like love but it looks like something else. I like to read all over the frame so that sometimes what the main point is gets pushed to the side to be discovered almost as an afterthought.
This is Beppo (Giuseppe), he built this farm we were living on when I made this image, and it’s where we live now. It was 7:15 in the morning and this 80 year old is out there doing what he has done for 45 years. Talking to the cows, looking at the land and reminding me of the Italian immigrants of my youth in the Bronx. All those country people from Puglia and Napoli who came to the big city and became a part of it.
Gianni had brought me some leaves he saw in a friend’s garden. One of them, this bronzed and beautiful one of trillions on the planet, is a type of Italian Magnolia leaf, and it managed to convince me to put it in the mix with these other objects to see what would happen.
I like this dark setting, it seems to have suited where I was heading with these still lives when I began making them. After all the years of ‘light’ being my subject, darkness descended when I began working inside, and I like it! It continues even now a couple of years later with a whole new series. But these strange personaggi seem to have real personalities when I spend time with them. They show a stronger side now and then, but I have to turn them slowly and watch carefully, just like a moment on the street, the essential quality of their being can be missed in a heartbeat, so close attention must be paid.