Summertime and yearning for Venice

March 4, 2009

I’ve been on a bit of a consumption binge lately. Needing to consume – purchasing, consuming movies, books, knowledge. Just trying to break out of my rut, watching the same Family Guy episode for the umpteenth time while glazed over.

This weekend I watched Summertime, a movie from the 50s starring Katharine Hepburn. I’m not sure that I have ever seen one of Hepburn’s movies before, but I decided I really don’t care for her. At all.

However, the movie itself was good. It had technicolor on its side, and it was set in Venice which made me long for another trip there. It’s already being planned in my head. Heavy wine drinkers need apply.

One of the things that struck me about this movie was Hepburn’s character – she arrives in Venice, and she carries this film camera with her everywhere, capturing every moment, preserving it on film. She doesn’t really experience anything – the only contact she really has at this point is with the other tourists at the hotel. A hot blonde and her artist boyfriend, the proprietor of the hotel (who offers her some fine Italian drink, which she decides to mix with bourbon), and some tourist-old-couple she met on the water taxi.

Then she meets a man – the man. He sets her heart (or something else) aflutter, but she spends the next half hour acting like an ass instead of enjoying the moment. Then she gives in, and the camera disappears. She begins to experience Venice, experience love and life, and the camera is no where in sight for the rest of the movie. Of course, I guess she should have acted like an ass – turns out he is married. But that is beside the point.

I have to wonder if the obsolete camera is intentional as she begins to experience Venice. Does this mean David Lean felt the same way I do? That the camera somehow abstracts you from reality, from the moment, even though it is capturing that moment for a lifetime or more? That the camera interferes with your ability to experience by placing a mechanical device and a lens between you and life?


House on a Hill

August 18, 2008

House on a Hill, Rome

There’s something about this photo that reminds me of Arbus’s similarly titled photo – A House on a Hill, Hollywood. It’s one of my two favorite photos of hers (the other being the Disneyland castle), and the dialogue generally surrounding these photos is how atypical it is for her to have taken more of a landscape photograph, as she normally works in portraiture. Thus, there’s a lot of discussion on what this means – photographing a house on a hill, photographing a castle at a theme park. Most often, the thought is she is photographing what is not there – i.e. the content of the house is missing in Hollywood; it’s just a shell (read what you will into that). Things aren’t always what they seem.

A House on a Hill, Hollywood, by Diane Arbus

The mood of the two photos feel the same to me. Somewhat gray (though in Arbus’s work this is achieved via B&W), clouds in the sky, perspective, and what’s not there. It’s obvious in Rome what is left is a piece of magnificent architecture, and what’s left hints at what once was, but is no longer. Whether that be as simple as part of the house is missing, or a great society that has come and gone… well, I’ll leave that to you to read into.


Sunshine filters through the leaves…

February 10, 2008

Walkway, Boboli Gardens, Florence | Essences of Italy series

As I walk beneath the trees.


You must have a good camera!

January 31, 2008

I just love it when people look at my work and that is the first (or second) line out of their mouth. As if my camera jumped out of my hand, ran back down the street, centered the scene perfectly, focused and snapped the shot, noting that it didn’t need a flash to get the best lighting.

My hubbie once said this about a friend, but after some thought (I said nothing, neither did his friend) he came to the conclusion that maybe there has to be a smidgen of talent at least to get the camera to produce a nice picture.

And for the record, I do have a nice camera 🙂 I also have some others that might not be qualified as nice, but will produce some fantastic results if it’s the effect you’re looking for. Because in the end, the camera is just a tool that the entire world has access to, just like paint, pastels, pens, and clay.


Ghost Town

January 9, 2008

Carousel, Florence, Italy

Yesterday morning the sky was gray – huge, puffy gray clouds provided a few variances in the shade of gray. I had to stop for gas and there was an eerie quiet for a few minutes – which is odd considering the gas station is on a busy street, and I was there during rush hour.

Another one of those surreal, slo-mo moments.