Tag Archives: Italy

OCTOBER 28, 2015


The Duomo in Milan is one of the largest churches in the world, and like so many cathedrals of this scale it took a long time to be completed, close to 800 years. The sculptures on the facade came last, probably sometime in the early 1800’s.

When I was there I saw an amazing pair of figures, which although I have seen the building before I had never noticed the detail in the drapery covering – or not – the figure on the right. It is an astonishing image for the front of a church.

10-28 statue L1002259


AUGUST 20, 2015


This road is one we have walked on almost every day for the last few years. The land rolls and dips and changes color with the seasons and the light. Some days it has a piercing blue sky and on others it is rain soaked and leaden, or rain bowed and glorious, and it never fails to lift my spirits. I salute it by raising the camera in acknowledgement, and saying thank you.

08-20 land L1032567.

AUGUST 15, 2015

From The Car

The stuff that people advertise themselves with! Why this crazy bird? Why so big? Why hang it over a balcony?

I glimpsed it at 50 mph as I slowed down while passing through a seaside town and by reflex I shot it, as I usually do for things that jump out at me this way. Frankly, if it wasn’t the only thing of interest that I saw on that 15th of August, during my ‘picture a day’ work, I’d probably never bother with it. But because something from every day must be acknowledged this is the one that said to me, ‘…have gratitude for small and strange things.”

08-15 From the car L1032463

JULY 10, 2015

Berm and Schnoz

On the way back from Lucca, shooting from the car as I often still do, this earthen berm with a.. …..what is that thing anyway… sticking over the top of the berm like a droopy schnoz, called out to me and made me laugh. The reason I think some photographs have a surreal feeling is that the world is surreal more often than we might think it is. Is this someone’s idea of art? Is it an industrial site with work going on behind the berm and the schnoz lets the gases out?  Is it a lost wind sock from a nearby airport come to earth right there? Whatever it was, it made for a moment of visual excitement, a humorous few minutes of speculation, and the feeling that the world is always giving off unexpected pleasures. If you are willing to see it that way.

07-10 FTC L1031278 copyBy the time we got home the day was producing its own set of miracles, besides arriving home safely. The Tuscan skies, almost as often as the skies over Ireland, produce rainbows of long duration which fall to earth in their own pot-o’-gold, wheat field landscapes. Maggie seems to me to be my very own pot-o’-gold, my good fortune at the end of the rainbow.

the 07-10 Maggie L1031338

JULY 2, 2015


Yesterday I mentioned that sitting around and talking could often produce spontaneous portrait studies, and that like street photography, if one was observant some rich gestural images might come from it. The next day our friend Gianni stopped by, as he does almost every day, to hang out and play with us as we have been doing for 20 years now.

The positions we were sitting in gave me this chance to really watch the Italian in him in action, with every nuance of his story needing an expressive gesture to move the opera along. What the story was about I can no longer remember, or as the Italians say, “chi se ne frega,” who gives a damn, anyway.

And then, when he was done, he gave me the sweetest, most sheepish look, which endeared him to me even more.

07-2 Gianni

07-2 L1031066.

MAY 28, 2015

Still Doing It

In the middle of the shoot a whole class of kids walked right through the shot. Not a problem though as it’s always been my way to accept whatever happens rather than trying to control everything. It didn’t turn out to add anything to the work though, just a pause. The day went well in spite of rain, then sun, and then grey, the works; and in fact it added variety to the feeling of the season the client was hoping for.

I worked through more than 20 setups, which is a lot for a one day shoot, but I managed, even though I hadn’t done a commercial job in more than 20 years, and I surprised myself by holding up and running around after all these young actors for 10 hours. I thought to myself at one point, ‘why are they complaining about working after being in one or two setups, I was in all 20!’ In fact, for me the best part was seeing that I could still do it.

Below is a cast and crew shot at the end of the day.05-28 L1001546

05-28 L1002279

MAY 26, 2015


I always like to go to touristic places; it’s where the action is, and the crowds, and sometimes a picture may break loose in an unexpected way, and then again, sometimes it’s just crap!  Why, because it’s a touristic place!

I wandered around this fountain in Rome for awhile and caught sight of Roman Centurion Guards in plastic sandals and polyester robes, more tourist groups with selfie sticks than one could shake a stick at, the usual set of slippery hustlers working the crowd for whatever they think they can get, and every other kind of modern craziness that tourist sites offer.

But then, on my round around the circuit, I caught sight of the fleshy swell of this woman’s underarm area, luxurious in bright sunlight, so vulnerable, so delicate, and then I saw the domed concrete pillar, and the 2 curlicues of wrought iron, and then her boyfriend’s head, and all of it said to me, ‘look…..at…..that.’  So I did.

05-26 L1029475.

MAY 1, 2015

May 1st.

It was a travel day. We left Bonnieux early in the morning after 4 months living there, on the first leg of our year long experiment living in Europe. So we said goodbye to the baker where our daily intake of baguette had become a morning ritual. Boy-o-boy, were they good! It was to be an 800 Km drive from Bonnieux to Buonconvento, so we broke it up into an overnight stop in Camoglie, a seaside town in Italy.

05-1 L1028310

Ah, dear old colorful, worn out, beautiful, generous Italia! Color! Like Italian opera. It is everywhere, and joyous to be in. Even though this blog is about one photograph a day, this kind of travel day is so refreshing in terms of stimulus, that I thought I’d simply lay down some of the eye candy that Camoglie offered on our arrival. Look at this! May 1, and they are already in the water!

05-1 L1028375

05-1 L1028374

05-1 L1028346

05-1 L1028399

As we walked down the seafront I saw this crazy structure on the beach and immediately Fellini’s imagery came to mind. What was this wooden scaffolding all about? And how easily it fit in and seemed normal.

05-1 L1028408

This wall, part of the crumbling beauty of Italian cities struck me as something I might ant to use  as a background for a still life. I found myself collecting a few ‘wall’ images that day for possible printing as a field to look at some objects on. Just instinct talking, and I always follow instinct and try not to second guess it.

05-1 L1028431

05-1 L1028456

05-1 L1028477

And then came the giant Frying Pan. Another Felliniesque motif leading to the surreal landscape of Italian life.

05-1 L1028492

05-1 L1028513

Sitting at dinner in the lovely hotel dining room on the sea, the long day coming to a close, a really good Italian seafood dinner in our bellies, the sun slipping into the sea, gave us a kind of perfect end to a long day on the road. More adventures on the road to Buonconvento to come.