Even better than the real thing

Anybody who knows me (or at least has read "MMC") knows that my interest in digital photography was jumpstarted this past year by Stuck in Customs!

I just got my rss feed email with this beautiful photo attached, and it reminded me yet again why this is rapidly becoming a passion. As Trey Ratcliff, the brilliant photographer behind the site has written,

When a human eye is actually on location, it is constantly moving, adjusting the pupil size, allowing in more light in some areas, less in others, and the visual cortex actually works to build a patch-like vision of the scene. That is what we remember in our mind’s eye: an idealized super-realistic memory of the scene. [High Dynamic Range Photography] appeals to those people that actually see the world like this.

My own frustration with photography in the past was that the images never quite seemed to capture the splendor of the moment as I remembered seeing it. Now, with digital photography (and, not to mention, LOTS of practice!) I finally have a shot at it!

What's got me thinking again about all this? I've been to that mall in Amsterdam pictured above, and - as unrealistic as the image may seem - that's exactly how I remember it! :-)

Want some more Stuck in Customs (not to mention insight into how I remember stuff...) Check out the slideshow of Trey's "Churches of Italy" photoset! (Sampled below!) In the meantime, keep up the spectacular work, Trey! Someday I hope to be able to capture my own reminiscenses as well as you do!!

"I know my chickens"

Italian sayings are wonderful! "I know my chickens" - originally a farmer's proverb - would roughly translate now as "I know of whom I speak."

The image above is the work of photographer, filmmaker, and multimedia artist Douglas Gayeton, who has a show opening this weekend in California. For those who can't make the trip, here's what Boing Boing has to say about Gayeton's art:

Douglas Gayeton has explored Tuscany and the heart of Italy's "Slow Living" culture since the early 90's. With a keen eye for stories and an ear for Italian dialect, he he intertwines the literal with the figurative in a photographic approach he calls the flat film. To become immersed in one of these works is to experience a world where time is at once collapsed and expanded. Regarding his work process, Gayeton says, "I've always seen photography as being about a single moment, whereas film is about orchestrating a sequence of moments (scenes) to create a larger narrative.
The mix between the realism of Gayeton's photojournalistic photography and the text reflecting Italian popular culture and the oral history of the subject seems a perfect way to transcend "the single moment" and create that larger narrative! (Reminds me a bit of a kind of refreshingly-grounded, photographic version of this lyrical mix by Howard Finster...)

More of Gayeton's work is available on PBS's website in a five-part photo essay called "My shoes are caked with mud: a Tuscan photo diary." I look enthusiastically forward to seeing even more from Douglas Gayeton, and hope you do, too! Enjoy!!

More dissing Venice (and ruining the Redentore?)

Seems that the Telegraph's doing an entire series dissing Venice this week... This time, they're criticising the privatization (and therefore "Disneyfication") of the Venetian Carnival.

Fact of the matter is that Carnival in Venice is already "Disneyfied"! It had largely died out by the 1980s, when it was revived as a way to get tourists into the city during the crappy winter weather months. Most Venetians hate Carnival, and skip town during it if they can!

But privatizing also the Venetians' beloved Festival of the Redeemer?? That would be adding insult to injury for the few, already tourist beleagered Venetians left!! (You can read my past posts about Venice's treasured Festa del Redentore here...)

Newsflash: Merchants of Venice have tourist and 'rude-tourist' prices!

*I* could have told you that! In fact, I did... in an op-ed piece for a Venetian newspaper once (which I alluded to, but didn't get back to on the blog, here).

However, the quote from the article, "We Venetians spend all our time being polite to each other," is still kind of a crock!

Venetian merchants have tourist and "rude-tourist" prices

Getting ready for the Palio!

Here are some more snapshots taken in Siena during preparations for the last Palio in July. (You can read, if you'd like, my blog post about it here!)

These shots are mostly of the little contradaioli, the little kids of each neighborhood who get free bleacher seats for the trial runs (and intensive socialization in their neighborhood fanaticism!)

Want to see more? The next Palio will be run Aug. 16!