Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Category: photography

Bottles make for good photos

About a month ago I took a picture of bottles in the snow. I thought it was a good, playful photo.

Yesterday I discovered that Robert Capa took a similar, better photo when he was on holiday in Zurs in 1950.

AUSTRIA. Zurs. 1949-1950. Ice bar.

Balklanlarda

I was born in 1987. That year, Greek photographer Nikos Economopoulos started to systematically document life in the communist regimes of Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania, in Greece and in Turkey. He wanted “to knit together the skeins of a collective identity in a region whose historical convulsions have made its name a synonym for implacable differences” (source). In 1995, his work was published in the book In the Balkans (in Turkish Balklanlarda).

More of his pictures, and the originals above, are available on Magnum’s website.

Pedalare a Berlino

La cosa divertente è che il giorno dopo la bici non c’era più, ma si vedeva la scia delle ruote di chi, pedalando, se l’era portata via. Chissà…

Different pictures

In Italian I make a picture (‘faccio una foto‘, almost a creation that we build) or we snap it (‘ho scattato una foto‘ and it literally took an instant). In French, like in English, I take a picture (‘je prends une photographie‘ – almost an egoistic gesture). In Spanish (‘saco una fotografia‘) and in Greek (‘βγάζω μια φωτογραφία‘) I take out a picture: maybe a memory of when there was still a film that you had to extract from the camera? In German (‘ein Foto aufnehmen/machen‘) I take up a picture, as if it was a flower hanging there for me.

Anna nella neve

Seminario de Madrid

This is a photo taken in 1960 by Ramón Masatas. Notice the shape of the goalkeeper and the seminarist on the right, the back to the goal, the head turned, almost ready to snap.

When I arrived at the seminary, I was struck by a football match in which the seminarians themselves were playing, despite wearing cassocks. I got behind the lens and watched them play. I asked them if they could stop the game and take some shots at the goalkeeper. They shot 18 or 20 times, until I managed to get this wonderful picture… Was it a goal? Yes, it was a goal, but I didn’t find out until I was able to enlarge the photo to a very large size. I noticed that the ball was behind the priest’s hand. It took me a while to see it. I didn’t find out until 10 or 15 years later.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

An iconic bridge, which I did not really know until I took the photo below. It crosses the Seine, just steps away from the Tour Eiffel, passing through a small island, the Île aux Cygnes. I sent the photo to Erik, who gave me a few tips on how to improve it. Here is what he said:

A couple of things that comes to my mind. To attract more attention to the silhouettes, it would be best to have just that in the frame. Everything else is a bit of a distraction. In order to get that, you have to have a telelens or crop the picture. Here the blackness of the bridge is the border of your photo, the frame. Alternatively, if you don’t have a telelens, or you really like the bridge to be recognized by the viewer as a bridge, then it is best to show the whole situation. As a viewer I get an understanding of what is going on. And most importantly, some perspective. Because of the foreground, like the tree and the bushes down low. When you only want the silhouettes in frame, there is less need of perspective. Because there is less distraction.

I followed this advice, cropping the picture as suggested. This is the result.

Bluer than velvet was the night

In questo mio squinternato e quarantinato passaggio di fine settembre a Trento ho scattato una foto che gli apprezzatori di David Lynch sapranno sicuramente ricollegare immediatamente alla sequenza iniziale di Blue Velvet.

Nigeria, 1960

A few weeks ago I visited the Polka Gallery in Paris with Arianna. This picture of Marc Riboud stuck with me. The original can be found here.

Marc Riboud - Ball for the Independence of Nigeria - 1966

I tried to reconstruct its story. There is not much information available, other than the title of the picture: Nigeria, 1960. This is when Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom. The Guardian reported on 2 October 1960 that “Nigeria is independent and Lagos is at last en fête“. High-society celebrations took place at Lagos’s new Palace Hotel. It remains unclear how Riboud created this photo: is this a play of mirrors?

Looking for the future

IMG_4578

This picture was taken at around 20:30 on a Wednesday, behind the Sacre Coeur. Arianna, Francesca, Luca, Jimmy and I were drinking wine and eating food on the side of this beautiful road, like hundreds of other people. The lockdown had just been lifted, most bars were closed and people were taking over the streets. A truly beautiful sight. At some point, these three girls walked up the street. They took pictures, exchanged clothes, and then took other pictures. It must have been some kind of photo shooting. I asked Luca to take a photo of them while they were checking the pictures on one of their phones.