Stairway to heaven | Day 16 of 365 days of stories

September 27, 2010

Stairs, St. Peter's Basilica
Stairs, St. Peter’s Basilica

This picture is one of those literal pictures that doesn’t require too much story, too much explanation. Italy has any number of long, steep stairways that wind and curve their way up into the domes of various basilicas or towers. There was something special about this one, though, at the church of all churches, St. Peter’s Basilica.

The sunlight flooded in from above, gleaming off the rather pedestrian tiles (compared to the mosaics inside) and gave this photograph an other-worldly glow.


Elephants in Rome | Day 14 of 365 days of stories

September 25, 2010

Elephant & Obelisk, Rome
Elephant & Obelisk, Rome

Oh when the elephants, come marching in! When the elephants come marrr-ching in! Oh how I want to be in that square, when the elephants come marching in!

Elephant and Obelisk really has nothing to do with Louis Armstrong, but when I see this guy, he reminds me of the elephants in Disney’s Jungle Book, who marched and sang as they trampled through the countryside.

Which brings us to the Roman elephant. What is he doing here? Elephants don’t belong in Rome. Nor do obelisks. But here they are, a focal point of Piazza della Minerva. The obelisk is a bit easier to explain. (more…)


Look up! | Day 11 of 365 days of stories

September 22, 2010

Street Lamp, Rome
Street Lamp, Rome

Street Lamp, Rome is a reminder that sometimes you just need to look up. Even on an overcast day, with a chilly breeze, there’s loveliness to be found.

That’s it. A short story suits a minimal photograph quite well, me thinks.


When In Rome | Day 10 of 365 days of stories

September 21, 2010

Tchotchke View St. Peter's, Rome
When In Rome

I had originally called this image Tchotchke View of St. Peter’s, but I think I should change the title to When In Rome. This tongue-in-cheek phrase (pun intended) seems to fit the mood of the photo a little better.

A lot of my feelings around this photo are captured in a previous post, “Holy Tchotchke!”. It’s funny how foreign yet how similar a place can be all at once. (more…)


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.