Now that I am older I am starting to see the beautiful things not only about the cities I am visiting but also about the people who live there, simple beauties, things that I am sure no one else finds to be beautiful but as a photographer, I am desperate to capture life. Though these things are very simplistic in their beauty, they are beautiful never-the-less.
I see simple things like sitting for lunch is a little Greek family-owned restaurant, watching a child debating with his parents about something he wants while his grandfather jumps into the debate, because in a Greek family there is no privacy. Or seeing local shop owners in a small Greek town preparing for the tourist season by painting windows shutters, airing out awnings, trying to make his shop brighter than his neighbor’s, trying to attract attention of the crowd to promote his business. Or walking through a small flea market watching kiosk owners sitting in front of their kiosks in a central location, covered by the canopy to ward away the rain, smoking and playing backgammon awaiting the arrival of curious tourists and local regulars. The overwhelming sense of community that reverberates from the simple beauties is what drives my passion to capture life and culture.
After leaving Greece I entered the world I am more accustomed to, Italy! However, the transition between cultural and atmosphere was very apparent, going from very laid back to the hustle and bustle of a booming city like Roma.
Roma though has its own set of unique beauties. Beauties that have been built thousands of years ago and have been further built upon over the centuries. The city is layers upon layers of history starting in the early years BC to now, literally thousands of years, concentrated in a single city.
A tour guide said it best when walking around the Roman Forum, he said ‘you have no idea who walked on these same stones you are walking on now, some of the greatest names in history walked these same streets you are today’ for me that is such a reality check. It is true you have no idea who has walked on the same streets I was walking on but you can feel the weight of the history all around you in a city like Rome. The significance of that city, not only as a historical landmark for future generations but also the Religious significance of that city. In ancient times “all road lead to Roma” because of the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Pope. It wasn’t only because of the vast leaders and rules of the time all resided in Rome it was because the Vatican and the Pope are historical symbols of hope to the people.
Though many things have changed since the last time I came to visit the Eternal City it seems as if nothing and yet everything has changed. Last I came to visit the security was much less then what it was this trip, more “big brother” eyes watching every street and every corner and to me, I think that those changes completely change the atmosphere of the city. There is not as much joy and carefree in the air as there once was many years ago.
Taking the train to Florence, the city of art and beauty. This city has been a huge historical landmark for thousands of years because of the artist and the dynamic style that flourished from the city. Any artist who wanted to be anyone came through Florence to study and to make a name for themselves, all of those great artists left their signatures all across this beautiful city.
Most people who to go Florence only see the huge landmarks like the Duomo and the statue of David by Michelangelo but there is so much more of the city to see then just these certain landmarks. There are fruit markets that are owned by the elderly couple who argue over what sales are happening with the customer standing there very lost and confused or the priest on his mobile phone preparing to walk into service, the simple train station for a business man from one city to the next going through small cities and towns along the way just trying to get home in time for dinner. These little things and the simple observations are things that so many people miss out on because they are too distracted by what electronic device that is in front of them rather than the world that is right in front of their faces that they are missing.
Things of this nature I see all the time, no one see the simply romantic moments in the world. I am thankful that God shows me these little moments else I am afraid that I also would miss them life everyone else I see. I have always said that it is also my job as a photographer to capture these little moments and these beauties to share them with the world so that they can finally take notice of what has been in front of them this whole time.
In a world that is obsessed with the “go, go, GO” attitude, where everything is instant through messaging, the internet, and everything has an app now people no longer appreciate the things that take time. We have become a cultural of “instant” everyone wants to be an instant millionaire rather than putting in hard work to get to the top of the industrial food chain.”
There is always more to say but I will leave you with these thoughts…
Traveling Photographer Out!