I’ve taken a million pictures – 50 were good.

‘Do not call me master, for heaven’s sake,” says Ferdinando Scianna, welcoming me inside his studio, a cosy ground-floor space in the centre of Milan. “I do not teach anything to anyone. Come in, take a seat.”

Scianna has just turned 79. Photography, for him, was an obsession that lasted 60 years. “And it is over today,” he declares. He has not taken pictures for years and says that when young photographers approach him for advice, he wants to ask them for theirs instead. “I tell them the most obvious thing: photograph what you love and what you hate. But they should tell me how to sneak around in this weird era that I do not really know.”

Scianna has taken more than a million photographs and, in his words, the good shots number about 50…

He loves to work on books though. He has published over 70; more, he says, than prudence would have advised him. The first was published in 1965 and is about religious rituals in Sicily (Feste Religiose in Sicilia). “I was just a 21-year-old Sicilian kid, and that book built my career. Today, when I leaf through the pages, I feel confused. I look at my photos and I ask myself, who took those images? I was too young and ignorant. You know, I learned to take pictures over the years – basically, just by taking them.” …

I do not think I can change the world with my photographs, but I do believe that a bad picture can make it worse,” he says. “And the point is that we have too many images. If you eat caviar every day, eventually you will want pasta e fagioli.” He thinks that photography went into an irreparable crisis a couple of decades ago, when we stopped building family photo albums. “Today we all take photos with our phones, but they are background images. Even a selfie is not a self-portrait but a kind of neurosis about a moment of existence that must immediately supplant another, and so on. And we all know what happens when something loses the identity that has determined its success and cultural function. It dies.” …

He also disdains the pace of change driven by the internet. “On the web, everything is consumed quickly. Culture, on the other hand, is slowness and choice. I made my theory; it is the theory of the three risottos. Do you want to hear it?” He clears his throat. “If someone has never eaten a risotto in his life – and if they have never been to Sicily, they certainly never have eaten a good one – the first time they taste it, they can only say if they liked it or not. The second time, however, they can argue that it was better or worse than the first one. Only from the third time on can they have their own theory of risotto and, if they want, give advice on how it should be cooked. Culture, to me, is knowing things and having a choice.” …

His last solo exhibition was at the prestigious Palazzo Reale in Milan. More than 200 photos were on show and, on some days, there were long queues waiting to get in. “Graham Greene once wrote, while travelling from Marseille to Paris, at some point he deeply believed in the existence of God. With photographs it is a bit the same. And the world, you know, practises forgetfulness. Millions of men lived before us, men who had dreams, who have done things. We do not know anything about them.”

But then, I ask, what remains in history? “Things that have found their shape,” he replies instinctively, adding: “I have walked my entire my life only to take photos. I am like those little dogs who, while walking, have left their poop around the streets. But if you really want to know the truth, then yes, taking pictures has given me a lot of happiness.” He takes another puff on his pipe and watches the smoke slowly rise towards the ceiling until it becomes a giant white cloud that evaporates in a second.

— Maurizio Fiorino, excerpts from “”I’ve taken a million pictures – 50 were good’: photographer Ferdinando Scianna” (The Guardian, July 26, 2022)


Notes:

Miracle. All of it.

lava

Mount Etna on Sicily spews lava as it erupts on March 1, 2017.

(Inspired by:

God, that old furnace, keeps talking
with his mouth of teeth,
a beard stained at feasts, and his breath
of gasoline, airplane, human ash.
His love for me feels like fire,
feels like doves, feels like river-water.

Li-Young Lee, from “This Hour and What Is Dead,” The City In Which I Love You)

 


Notes:

  • Photograph: Antonio Parrinello, Reuters, March, 1, 2017, wsj.com
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

Moved.

Licia-Ronzulli-child-work

She has been coming to work with her mother since she was just six weeks old. And now it seems three-year-old Vittoria Cerioli, daughter of Italian MEP Licia Ronzulli, is taking an ever more active interest in mummy’s work as she joined her in a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday. Stealing the show at this month’s session in eastern France, adorable Vittoria took part in proceedings as she lifted her arm up along with her mother to vote.

Don’t miss the full set of pictures here: Enchanting Little Girl Following In The Footsteps of her MEP Mother


SMWI*: The Dolomites


The Lavaredo Ultra Trail Race is 119 km long (73 miles) and 5,850 meters (3.64 miles) of altitude gain. The race starts from the center of Cortina in the southern Alps in Northern Italy. There were ~600 participants coming from all over the world for a race that embraces the most spectacular places of the Dolomites: the Crystal, the Tofane, Cinque Torri, and of course the Three Peaks. The winner was Anton Krupicka from the United States who finished in 12 hrs: 42 min: 31 sec. (10.44 minute avg per mile.) The top finisher for the Women was Rory Bosio from the United States who finished in 14 hrs: 29 min: 35 sec. (11.9 min avg per mile.) (Source: ultra trail.it)

SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration


SMWI*: Football Weekend – Italian Style.

RBS 6 Nations 2014 on Dmax Italy from silvia morganti on Vimeo.


Inspired? Yes.  Listening for the referee’s call of “crouch, bind, set” – – watching the players bind together – heads interlocking with the opposition — followed by brute force. Add rain and mud and what you have here is a Man’s Sport.


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration

My chair, my table, my bed, my breeze and my sun.

sun,sunrise,sunlight,sunset,photography

I find my only real joy in solitude.
Solitude is my castle.
That’s where I have
my chair,
my table,
my bed,
my breeze and
my sun.

— Léolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992)


Jean-Claude Lauzon (1953 – 1997) was a Canadian filmmaker. Born to a humble family in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Lauzon worked a variety of odd jobs after dropping out of high school. He went on to study film at the Université du Québec à Montréal at the behest of Andre Petrowski, a member of the National Film Board of Canada. His two feature length films, Un zoo la nuit, and Léolo, established him as one of the most important Canadian directors of his time. He was preparing his third film when he died, along with his girlfriend, Canadian actress Marie-Soleil Tougas, in a plane crash. On August 10, 1997, the Cessna 180K he was piloting flew into a mountainside in strong winds and rain near Kuujjuaq, Quebec while returning from a fishing trip. His film Léolo was nominated at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival for the Golden Palm Award, and is listed as one of Time’s All-TIME 100 Movies.


Credits:

  • Quote source link. Bio Source: Wiki
  • Thank you Maralee for her photograph.  Here’s her description of the photo:  “This was the view from my room at the agriturismo that I stayed at when we were in Italy. I couldn’t get enough of that gorgeous Tuscan light.”  I couldn’t get enough of that light either.  I’ve not been to Tuscany but this photo inspires me to do so.  Check out Maralee’s blog here.

The tip of a black court shoe peeking through a half-open door

Rene-Gruau

What do you see above?
Don’t ask me how long I stared at this illustration by René Gruau trying to figure it out.
Consolation was offered when no one else in the household could figure it out either.
And then, I did a bit of scouting…

[Read more…]

Sunday Morning: NW Italy in October


A trip through North-Western Italy in October wrapped in The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.


I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty

Veneto Countryside Vincenza Italy

“This inner silence which accompanies me is born of the slow stride which leads from one day to another. What more can I long for than this room opening out on to the plain, with its antique furniture and its crocheted lace? I have the whole sky on my face, and feel that I could follow these slow, turning days forever, spinning motionlessly with them. I breathe in the only happiness I can attain—an attentive and friendly awareness.

I spend the whole day walking about: from the hill, I go down to Vicenza or else farther into the country. Every person I meet, every scent on this street, is a pretext for my measureless love … all are props for the person who can no longer be alone. But the tender and bitter piping of the grasshoppers, the perfume of water and stars that you meet in the September nights, the scented paths among the lentisks and rose bushes, all are signs of love for the person forced to be alone. Thus the days pass. After the dazzling glare of the sun-filled days, evening comes, in the splendid décor offered by the gold of the setting sun and the black of the cypress-trees. I then walk along the road, toward the crickets that can be heard far away. As I advance, they begin one by one to sing more softly, and then fall silent. I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty.”

—Albert Camus, from “Lyrical and Critical,” Betwixt and Between (1937)


Credits: Quote Source: A Poet Reflects.  Image of Vicenza Italy Countryside: Photoree.com


Sunday Morning: The Pedrini Family

A Pasta Story from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo. Funding provided by intrepidtravel.com/italy


A clip that takes us to the hills in Tuscany with the Pedrini Family.

Good Sunday Morning.


Related Post: Sunday Morning: 10 Things We Love About Italy

Sunday Morning: 10 Things We Love About Italy

10 Things We Love About Italy from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo. Funding provided by intrepidtravel.com/italy.


I don’t know why I’m posting clips about food at 6am. Not helpful for my Biggest Loser Challenge. But this, THIS, was amazing. Enjoy.

Good Sunday Morning.


SMWI*: Playground, Italy

Playground, Italy from Matty Brown on Vimeo.


Incredible. When can we go?!

SMWI* = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration

Stefano Barone


Stefano Barone was born in Naples, Italy, in 1978, and started playing when he was very young, studying piano at first but choosing guitar at last. From blues to pop to rock, in Naples he cut through different musical experiences, until he moved to Rome in 2001 and decided to dedicate himself fully to solo acoustic guitar. (Source: Lastfm.com)


Related Posts:

Friday Night: Mario Biondi


It’s hard to imagine how I could not have heard of Mario Biondi prior to tripping into this video on Nia‘s blog.  BIG voice on his rendition of this classic tune (Close to Me) which was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and originally recorded by The Carpenters in 1970.

Mario Biondi, 42, is a jazz-soul vocalist born in the Sicilian city of Catania in Italy.  He was born of artistic stock.  His great grandfather was a respected painter, his grandmother a singer, and his father a popular songwriter.   Biondi sang throughout his childhood, first performing in public at age 12 in church, and soon singing in public squares before hundreds of people. From there he competed in the Festival della Canzone Siciliana, taking third place. Biondi’s musical pursuits earned him the opportunity to perform alongside such Italian vocal greats as Califano, Bongusto, and Fiorello, as well as American legend Ray Charles. As word of his talent and skill got out, Biondi found himself collaborating with groups like the Change, Mario Brothers, and Funky Company on recordings and tours. Given his powerful and unique voice, it was not long before Biondi was encouraged to pursue a solo career. Featuring material inspired by American R&B artists like Lou Rawls, Luther Vandross, and Donny Hathaway, Biondi’s debut record was released in 2006.  (Link to album can be found here.)


Source: Thank you Nia for pointing me to Mario Biondi (via Sempreventophoto).  Bio –iTunes.

Into Thin Air…

This is the normal day and time for some form of Saturday Morning Work-out inspiration.  And, that is exactly what we have here but bigger – for your mind, your body and your spirit.  Whether you bike or don’t bike or don’t care about biking, this clip is flat out inspirational.  Mother Earth in Northern Italy at “King Ortler” with its breathtaking scenery.  Incredible cinematography.  Beautiful music.  LOVED IT.


INTO THIN AIR | engl. Subtitles from infinite trails on Vimeo.


Related Posts:

Hump Day: 4:02 am and inspired…

Kicking off Hump (Hug?) Day with Dave Matthews Band and “Everyday.” (Lori, music video is dedicated to you).  And now to feature some of the most inspiring blog posts of the week by some of my favorite bloggers:

If I had a son who was playing high school football – he’d be lucky to play for Coach Bill Moore – the Westfield, MA High School Football Coach. I was inspired by Coach Moore’s recent post Jugs: “It was 1989 when I faced a monster nicknamed Jugs. He was a colossus of a man, six feet six inches tall and 300 pounds of powerful mass and ill content. I watched the film in the week before the game. I knew what was coming. I had faced powerful men before, but nothing like this…”

Leonard Buchholz at DealerPro Training Solutions with his post Want to have a big day today? Get a checkup.Anyways, I think I have probably heard ‘do a checkup from the neck up’ at least a million times in my career. It is as pure an attitude adjustment technique today as it was when first uttered. I picture a Roman general saying to his troops just before battle “Hey, get in the war man. Do a checkup from the neck up before we rush over that moat” or something like that. That’s how old it is.” Check out his prescriptions. Leonard lands yet more ah-has with this post.

[Read more…]

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