Thursday, October 02, 2008

Photographing Florence

Sorry for the absence of posts this week. I've had a horrible cold from which I'm only just emerging. My eyes are still very sore but at least I'm not pouring snot everywhere. The whole thing rather knocked me for six I'm afraid. As a child I was quite asthmatic, a condition that I fortunately grew out of in adolescence. The only time it rears its ugly head these days is when I get a cold and it goes straight for my chest and I start wheezing like someone who's just climbed twenty flights of stairs. So I've spent most of this week very out of breath and consequently too light headed and dizzy for anything requiring concentration. OK apologies over.

So the photos. I noticed that Booda Baby wanted photos from Santa Croce and there were none. What can I say? Well there are a couple of things, one a circumstance of the day and the other an arbitrary decision I made before we travelled. The on the day problem was that half of Santa Croce's interior was under tarpaulin so we couldn't see any of the Donatello sculpture in there. It wasn't tarped in a way that would have made for an interesting photo either unfortunately. The other reason I didn't take any pictures of that, or of most of the other well-known landmarks, was because I decided to look around me as we mooched around and if I could count 10 people shooting the same photo I was about to take then I stopped. This is partly snobby daftness on my own part but there is a rationale too.

As we were looking through our photos T told me about her grandfather who took countless slides whenever the family went on holiday. He would then show them to anyone who would sit still for long enough to be subjected to them. In the 70s, 80s and early 90s when he was taking them it made sense to really document things. If there was a sculpture or a building that was especially beautiful then recording it for yourself seems sensible, there may be no book featuring it. Today I think that the situation is rather different. If you look on Flickr, Google Images or any of the other repositories of online images there will be countless shots of any famous monument you can think of. Many will be taken by professional photographers who could clear a space or are willing to get up early enough that their pictures will capture the object in the best manner possible. I didn't think it was worth my while trying to compete with them. Florence must be amongst the most documented places on earth: a search on Flickr for "Santa Croce Florence Firenze" yields nearly 3,300 images and I felt that if I were to take a picture it should only be when I really felt I saw something differently rather than just to document something because it was there and beautiful. I hope this makes sense?

Looking back through my pictures I think these 5 are my favourites, they're the ones that speak most to me about our experience of being in the city rather than recording what we saw.

Reading in the Piazza della Signora

Looking Down the Arno

In the Grand Hotel Villa Medici

Film in the Piazza Santo Spirito

Sitting and Drinking Outside Santo Spirito at Night

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Blogger Churlita said...

I agree. I like to take photos of the weird things or the least expected things. They are so much more interesting.

Your five are amazing

7:24 pm  
Blogger booda baby said...

Okay. You win. :)

Really, that's a good point, that there are billions of pictures. And, on the other hand, there's nothing like being a slave to your camera to take you out of the moment and experience.

In my defense, though, there are a handful of people who can somehow manage to capture (mystery to me, at least)the ... well, the - what's another word for atmosphere? Only way better and more textured and richer with history than atmosphere? That. And it's not my fault you're one of them.

What a curious coincidence that you're one of them and a photo snob too. Ha! :)

8:09 pm  

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