Last week took Kiss Photography to the beautiful country of Italy. A photography experience;beauty on every corner.
As a photographer I see many different kinds of beauty, its not just in the obvious. I love faces, I love how different nationalities have different characteristics that seem to spread across the nation. I love the lines and wrinkles of faces, the map of life etched on your face. I have always admired the work of Mario Testino who also shares my passion for people. So this trip we captured a little bit of the Italian people, the real people. We shot portraits of the cheese maker, the ice cream seller, the policeman, the olive grower, the wine merchant, the street seller, the pharmacist, the teacher, the student, the English School director. Each face told a different story. I hope you find the beauty in them as much as we did.
Another passion of mine are doors. One of my first ever photography projects was doors. I love doorways to houses, the door that leads to your home tells its own story, where you are, the style, the brick or stone surround. We traveled the length of Italy to find the doorways of the past. Deep in the Southern region of Puglia we went back to the fathers village. A deserted town in which we found the door of where the father was born, just off the main piazza, it took a lot of phone calls and texting of photos to actually determine which was the right door. Things change so much over the years and we were going back many. The doorway that the next generation remember was the doorway of the grandmother’s second house, the first house she owned. In the centre of the old village. This to me was the most interesting doorway of all. The house as long been abandoned, locked for many years. The street now deserted, families have moved on from this old street tucked away from anything at the back of the old church. The ‘forno’ long shut. This is where families would take their bread or pizza to be baked. No one had a oven back then, just a fire in the kitchen. Fine to boil water for the pasta, but no good for bread. So a Forno was a building that housed a big fire oven and the children remember over 40 years ago vising Nonna and being sent to the Forna with the dough to pay a little money and put it in the communal oven.
The doorway was old and the step now used to store someones paint pots. My husband and his sisters laughed and re told stories of sleeping tons of kids to a bed on summer visits, sometimes even being housed in the room next door, a tiny doorway, which no one even knew who owned this sparse room with its funny little old door.
We also traveled to the mountains, not high enough for snow this time of year, but instead beautiful rolling hills and views for miles. We found the doorway of the maternal Nonna and the doorway of the great Grandmother. Our daughters and their second cousins crowded in the little doorway, in a different part of the old town, many miles away from the first and had their photo taken. Laughing a jostling for a space, it occurred to me how they all started their lives here, behind this door, where their Great Grandmother was born many many years ago. Without her birth none of them would even be here now. None of these little people have met her, but all are lucky enough to still have her children, their Gran mothers in their lives, but it all started with her, behind this door.
I find beauty in objects, postboxes and hand written signs. There is something just so more endearing in a handwritten sign in another language.
I love the different colours used on the houses in Termoli, the Grandmothers new home, this beautiful beach side town, a far place from the little mountain village. I took portraits of my daughter against different painted walls of houses, just because I loved the different tones of paint.
Our trip also took us to Rome, a city so steeped in history and beauty it almost makes you blasé. We photographed the obvious, you have to, but our project of faces came into its own. We also photographed the incredible food we ate.
The one thing I enjoyed the most was taking the children into the The Pantheon. With its impressive domed ceiling with a hole to worship the sun, some experts say it may even be a large scale sun dial. The camera had to be worked to photograph this to its full potential so the light didn’t take over. After we had achieved our desired shot I looked at our children straining their necks, tilting their heads upwards to the beauty of the light. I took their hands and we lay on the floor of this amazing temple. From here you could appreciate this place in its full beauty. We were the only ones that did this, but hope some others do. This is how you were supposed to see this amazing architecture in its full glory. We lay on the cold stone floor for a while in silence letting the beauty capture our minds, getting the full benefit from our perfect position. Some may have thought we were mad, some may have thought we had got it right. I just thought now THIS is the picture. Not to be taken with a camera, but to keep in our minds. Life becomes one big photo album. Your brain remembering all you have seen though the lens of your eye. I strive to make this personal photo album of ours a good one.