Next week we will be going to Italy for a holiday. I think this is the 15th time we have visited there so it must be obvious that we like the place. This time it will be the southern part Puglia and Campania (the heel and boot)and after that, I think I can say I have seen the entire country. If I were to give a reason why I like it so much, I think the best one would be that I think I have taken some of my best photographs there. I cannot say this for certain but it just feels like it. I go out into a street there with my camera dangling around my neck and I just feel so “at home” there. For one thing, Italians are not assholes about having their picture taken, or either being in a picture. I have never had an Italian complain, refuse, hold up a straight-arm (No pictures please!) or any other stupid gesture. I do remember that once in a museum where pictures were not permitted, I snuck one in and a guard heard the shutter click. She whirled around and gave me a hard stare, and wagged her finger at me in an official way. It worked. I did not take any more pictures in that museum.
The second reason we love it so much is the food. It’s really good and eating there becomes a major part of the experience. Sharon and I tend to favor lunches over dinner and we always look forward to a two-hour lunch in some garden with a bottle of wine. I have also noticed that after consuming enough wine, my afternoons of picture-taking tend to be more productive.
It goes like this. We get up, have breakfast and hit the streets. I am usually antsy in the morning to find something to shoot so I tend to rush myself. It doesn’t work. When you are looking for something to shoot, it just does not happen so my mornings are usually a waste of time. Afternoon is different. I am slightly buzzed from the wine and more relaxed and I tend to see things a bit differently. By late afternoon I am so laid back , the light is perfect, things begin to happen. Very odd. I think this time I will concentrate on being “receptive” in the morning and see what happened.
The photo above was taken in Brescia, Italy about 5 or 6 years ago. Again, it was after dinner and we were returning to the hotel. As we walked through the piazza, we saw these kids snuggling in front of the church and I took the shot. By the way, here is a tip. If you are into photographing kids snuggling, kissing, making out, go to Italy and find a piazza—any piazza. It will be crawling with teenagers hugging etc. Its their equivalent of kids going and hanging out in the mall back here in the USA. Kids in Italy have better taste.
By the way, if anyone from Puglia/Campania reads this post, I am open to suggestions, Food, places, whatever. Just drop me a line.