This project was spontaneous, a Sunday in Rome, perfect lighting, weather and crowd. I have been living in the United States since 1985, but I am Italian and spend several months a year in Italy. I rarely have time to spend hours on a single street, or on a single series of photographs since I often have travelers with me, but this experience was different because I was free to carefully observe my surroundings, to take my time.
Part of the Italian soul (mine included) is fascinated with beauty and design; it has a sort of magnetism. As is widely known, Europe is experiencing a serious and protracted economic recession, and Italy is suffering severely. The unemployment rate for youth is currently at 43%, yet people have not lost their enthusiasm for having fun, for admiring beautiful fashions, for window-shopping, for enjoying exquisite clothing and accessories. There is never a time that the streets are not filled with exuberance, engaged passersby commenting on the latest designs, the latest “look”. From all appearances, no one has a worry in the world – it was the juxtaposition of the economic reality and the absolute carefree spirit of the people around me that caught my interest.
Of course, Rome’s famous fashion row, Via Condotti is a mecca for people watching people. I decided to focus my lens on the windows, the “interaction” between the mannequins and those admiring the articles on display, the viewer. I knew that I wanted to use black and white and I wanted reflection and contrast to play a major role. I tried to blur the foreground in some and keep the subject in focus. I shot all of the photos in color and used post processing to convert them to black and white. This series is really just the beginning; I have projects in mind that cover other aspects of the Italian “passeggiata” that I hope to realize in black and white as well.
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