TO THIS DAY, ITALY IS ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE COUNTRIES I HAVE EVER VISITED.
IT WAS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST REVOLUTION I'VE HAD IN TERMS OF MY SKILLS.
THE HOT SUMMER AND VARIETY IN SCENERY OPENED MY EYES TO A WHOLE NEW STYLE OF DOCUMENTATION AND PHOTOGRAPHIC TECHNIQUES.
I SHOT ALMOST 2000 PHOTOS A DAY ACROSS 14 DAYS AND 5 CITIES.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVOURITE MOMENTS.
MILAN STEREOTYPE 101
Our first stop was Milan. Famous for the exceptional dress sense amongst locals and importance within the fashion industry.
I shot this just across from the Duomo Di Milano Cathedral underneath the mall's arches. I was pacing up and down these massive marble streets waiting for somebody to walk into the harsh light cutting through the Mall's pillars.
I tried and failed a few times to find anybody interesting but then I spotted this well-dressed woman sporting designer clothes and Louis V handbag strolling toward me.
I rattled off a few shots and got this. It's not perfect. But it fully encapsulates the 'vibes' of Milan for me.
Captured on my continued pursuit of the fashionable.
We were walking to a pizza place and I spotted him crossing the road at the same time as us. I thought he looked particularly cool, shirt, shades and the tats. The light was right, and just as I brought my camera up he spun and looked right down the barrel.
I love the tones of this image.
Directly across from the Duomo Di Milano is the Ray-Ban headquarters apparently.
I say apparently because at the time of taking this I just thought it was another store! Which considering the beauty and location of this building really speaks volumes for Milan as a city.
I couldn't find anything about this building at all.
I can't even see if Ray-Ban is officially listed on any maps.
Regardless, I really like this shot, especially the light. It rounds off Milan, all this amazing architecture, usually with some massive brand attached.
On our way to Venice via shuttle bus. I stood holding on to the handrail above.
Just behind my little brother was this brightly dressed older man, swaying back and forwards, closing and opening his eyes like he was falling asleep.
With Conor (my little brother) between us, I recruited him into pretending I was taking a photo of him but instead I was framing up for the man behind.
After a few tries and fails, Conor moved just as the man leaned forward to close his eyes and rest his head like he was really deep in his thoughts.
Conor's shoulder still clips the edge of the frame but it helps to convey how packed this bus was.
Real, uninterrupted emotion.
Venice is unlike anywhere I've ever been. It's so vibrant and rustic, every corner looks like something out of a painting or a movie. Each packing a unique punch in refreshing Pantone pallets. Nothings oversaturated.
My brain was kind of exploding as we walked through the alleys on our way to the Rialto Bridge. The colours were divine, and everything was so genuine. Nothing seemed accentuated for the benefit of tourists (with the exception of landmarks) It was so refreshing to be somewhere that felt real.
This little street especially. I don't think it has any iconic history but just look at it.
How could you not fall in love with this place?
What a surreal, yet captivating city.
Walking alongside the canals in Venice I spotted this small shop tucked away into the corner. I thought it was a coffee spot.
When I realised it was a wine/ deli spot I went to turn and walk away. Just as I moved off, a window from the small shop swung open, followed by a loud and fast conversation between two men, one on the street and the other being this gentleman cleaning the windows.
I immediately approached him, without much thought mind you. At this point in the trip, I had already been rejected from taking photos 3 or 4 times (one being from the Italian army) But in an attempt to maximise my chances I tried this one using my limited Italian skills.
Me- "Buonasera! posso farti una foto?"
Him- "Me? Perché?"
I didn't know how to say, 'because I really like the natural framing that's happening here and the light is pretty perfect!' So, I took this shot right as he asked why, and then said, "Perché Bellissimo!"
He laughed at my attempts and pulled some faces for me before continuing to clean his windows. There was something really awesome about having a moment of laughing carrying on with this guy, despite our language barrier and never having met. Hands down my favourite shot from the whole trip.
I hate boats.
I took this on a Gondola in Venice. I carry a backpack and a camera everywhere, so water, in general, makes me nervous. But for me getting on the gondola was a thing I had to do, I mean, I was in Venice, it had to be done.
Having to 180 and slightly lean out the boat was a little unnerving, to say the least, but this shot was worth it.
Gondoliers are fascinating to me. Only the descendants of a previous Gondolier can be a Gondolier. Sworn to the secrecy of tests prior to becoming one.
Stereotypes weren't found here, no singing (much to my Dad's disappointment) No particular essence of romance other than the natural elements of Venice itself. But the way they navigate these long and narrow crafts around the tightest of corners was an art form and a spectacle in itself.
I never got a name, but our host was characteristically uncharacteristic, as captured appropriately in this photo.
SAN MARCO CAMPANILE
The highest viewpoint in Venice. We never planned this venture, as usual, but it was so incredibly worth it for panoramic views of the city.
If you're ever in Venice, don't miss it. But maybe take earplugs, it's an active belltower... and my ears are still ringing.
SWIPE FOR MORE
A shot from the top of the San Marco Campanile looking down on the city of Venice. Look how densely packed the place is. Venice has no roads, except the main road on the way in, apart from that, it is all canals. Which can't even be seen from this height because of how close together everything is.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS
The 'Ponte Dei Sospiri' in Venice is incredible.
It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace.
The 'Bridge of Sighs' earned its name due to tails of prisoners passing over, taking their final glance of Venice before incarceration and letting out a sigh.
The reality is that apparently, you can't see much from behind the stone grilled windows. But it makes a nice story.
I can't remember where in Rome I took this photo exactly, other than it was on a train.
I just remember thinking I loved the light on this man's face and the framing with the hand rails.
Climbing out of a subway in Rome.
Just everything here is nice. The shapes the light would cut in the morning, oh man, it's worth going back to Italy for that alone!
The Vatican City and St Peter's Square. Home to the worlds strongest cocktail (in my lightweight opinion) and the Pope of course.
What a day this was. I and Ash had these strong cocktails on empty stomachs.
It made for a very interesting tour around some of the worlds most important art.
SWIPE FOR MORE
THAT ROAD FROM EVERY FILM, SET IN ROME
I did indeed run out into the middle of the street for this composition.
So worth it. I love it!
STREETS OF ROME
I found this spot while on a well-deserved gelato break.
I love the contrast between the newer and older building and the birds.
SCALINATA DEI BORGIA
I can't find much about the history of these stairs. But we were in Rome, walking to find a better angle of the Colosseum when we came across them. It was impossibly busy to get this shot empty so I've worked a little bit of photoshop magic.
Massive shoutout to @jurassicashley for tolerating me screaming at her from the other end of the road in this quiet little Italian street.
ASH AND LIGHT CUTS
We were inside some little marble building in the Roman Forums just across from the Colosseum. The process went like;
Me - *sees nice light*
Me - 'ASHLEY!"
Ash - *running in*
Ash - "What what? Oh. Okay".
And that ladies and gentleman. Is a perfect relationship.
No, but I really like this light. Ash is the queen of a difficult candid. But when it works, it works. Nice cutting of the light with this kind of cookie-cutter thing happening with the grid behind me. .
WHAT DOES SHE KNOW THAT I DON'T?
Sitting on the steps of 'Altar of the Fatherland' in Rome while looking for places to eat. I saw this lady manoeuvring through the crowd. Her bright mask and big brown eyes drew me to her.
She looked almost suspicious like she was waiting on something.
The colours of Italy were unreal.
Look at those windows too, is that not some of the most characteristically beautiful things you've ever seen?
En route to the big building that's falling over, surrounded by tourists trying to hold it up. I took more photos of people doing that daft pose than I did the actual building. Amazing city though. We only had a couple of hours there but it was worth every second.
SWIPE FOR MORE
What would a trip to Italy be as a Hawaiian t-shirt/ short wearing white boy from Scotland be without a scoot around on a classic?
When in Lake Como Ash and I splashed the cash for a couple of days hire on this mean machine.
With speeds of 25mph, I truly feared for my knees safety. Especially as I forgot to stick to the tourist routes and ended up driving through the mountain tunnels holding up actual cars.
Safety aside. This was awesome.
Having Ash cling on to me for dear life and drive around the waters of Como in the sun, stopping only for ice cream and directions, this was a real highlight of my trip
Something I'll remember forever.
This is James Bradford. An American businessman travelling the world and well, doing business. In maybe the most random encounter of my life I found myself sitting with this stranger, talking business and travel in a little Italian town on the edge of Lake Como.
Brad approached me and @jurassicashley asking to take a photo with our Vespa. Then we got to talking about what we do and what not, he exclaimed he was looking for a photographer in his line of work. He owns a cigar company or two and promised a relationship of travel and opportunities.
We ended up doing a spontaneous shoot right there on the spot. Recruiting me initially to jump in on his unsuspecting friend in the Café behind us. He wasn't surprised at all, he saw us talking. Then we shot some 'candids' of us 'doing business' which Ash shot. Like a proud dad, they were actually quality! Especially for being put on the spot like that.
All in all, I do live for these surreal spontaneous moments. This one may be topping the list, as we sat, discussing how we'd work together the following week in Vegas. I like the way he thinks. This spontaneous, life of travel. I've since spoken with him several times on the phone, often being asked to be in NYC within a week.
One day Brad, one day. Also, your mum was wrong, talk to strangers.
SWIPE FOR MORE
WE ENDED OUR ITALIAN ADVENTURES IN THE ONLY SUITABLE WAY POSSIBLE. WITH 1KG OF LAKE COMO'S FINEST GELATO.
AND BY 'WE' I MEAN ONLY ME.
A PASSING TOURIST MUTTERED 'JESUS CHRIST' AS I MADE LIGHT WORK OF THIS FAMILY SERVING.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE IMAGES AND STORIES FROM MY SHORT TIME IN THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.
THERE'S A BONUS ROUND OF UN-CAPTIONED IMAGES BELOW THAT ENDED UP ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR .
HOWEVER I STILL THINK DESERVE ATTENTION.
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME!