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A NEW WAY OF SEEING - A PHOTOGRAPHY RETREAT FOR WOMEN, IN GENOA, ITALY, 2014

Not only has Di changed my perception of the city I have called home for the past six years, she has also taken me beyond my own limits as a photographer. She has inspired me to stop living my entire life on the default settings I have grown so comfortable with. By pushing a camera to its limits and learning how to manipulate the manual settings, I, for the first time in my life, realized how much potential I was wasting by always deferring to my default auto setting.

Leah Armstrong, from Help! I live with my Italian mother-in-law, and her article about the workshop over at Holiday Mag.

Come join me on a journey of discovery in an exquisitely ancient Italian city.

 

'Visit' Genova via Stefano's RIGHICAM.

Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home - not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colours. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you. How you can fall in love with the light. Ellen Melloy, Writer
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the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099

Sunday
Dec212014

Christmas ... as experienced by Antipodeans

I love this song, it makes me all teary every year when I'm missing home like hell because a northern hemisphere Christmas can only ever be a rotten-Dunedin-weather-kind-of-Christmas. 

I grew up near Dunedin, on the east coast of the lower South Island - situated around 40 degrees south in latitude.  We had some appalling weather some of our Christmas days. 

Anyway, Tim Minchin is an Australian living in London and he wrote this song for his baby daughter.  It started out amusing then startled me as he simply captured what Christmas is like in the lands downunder.  My mum loved her white wine in the sun.  Socks, jocks and chocolates was all Dad ever wanted for Christmas.  Later it became about golf tees and golfballs.

There's so much fuss about religion this Christmas but for me, it's simply about family and spending time with people you love.  Red wine in the sun would be quite fine with me, back home with my brothers and sister, my Dad and my nieces.  But this year ... we are 5 here in Belgium, and that's okay too.

Anyway, a little bit of Tim ...

Saturday
Dec202014

Jack Savoretti - Home

I was just introduced to a new song set in the stadium of my Italian football team as they beat Juventus 1-0 and I love it.

Jack Savoretti writes of his song, over on Facebook: Here it is, the BRAND NEW OFFICIAL VIDEO for my new single HOME! I have made music videos before, but none quite like this…we filmed it at Genoa football club’s stadium…my home stadium...a night I will never forget for the rest of my life!

There's an interview with him here.   His website ...

Friday
Dec192014

And so another delicious adventure begins ...

I had a meeting this morning, one where I was offered the opportunity to exhibit my photographs in Brussels.

I'm excited.  By emptying my life of 'Everything', I have left space for Some Thing.   And while my Home & Away exhibition was an impulse that took me on an unexpected journey, this exhibition is going to be all about staying conscious ... in a way I didn't quite manage back in October. 

I'm always learning.   Always willing to learn.

It will open early in the new year and it feels like a good way to begin 2015.  More news to follow as we decide on dates, times and all that important stuff.

The image below ... found on the streets of Genova.

Thursday
Dec182014

A Note from a Winter Day in Belgium ...

And the burn-out has continued here in my world but I'm running up the stairs again, finally.  I'm not taking that forgranted ever again.  Now to commit to taking the vitamin D I guess.  Apparently 80% of Belgians end up  deficient in vitamin D ... this New Zealander too.

As for the burn-out, I'm not sure that it's still that.  Now it seems more like I'm looking around and thinking 'what next?'  But instead of attempting to follow multiple paths, I'm thinking of just one or two.  We'll see how that plays out.  I have remained slow ... very very.  And I'm letting it be like that.  I have had a few times of intensity, quickly followed by that descent back into slow.

I know it's a luxury.  More time without income but still, the Belgian bloke seems happy enough with the housewife who has stepped up as me.

Lucy, Ruth and Fiona, lovely friends from near-by, birthday-gifted me 50euro in book vouchers for my favourite secondhand bookshop here in the city.  I stretched it out over 3 visits and I'm rapt with my books.  I finished it on Tuesday, with two books about artist and wise woman - Georgia O'Keeffe, with a third by New Zealand writer, Barbara Anderson.  Oddly enough, I didn't see the similarities in the titles until later but Anderson's book was a slice of home that I couldn't resist.

I had my hair cut too.  'Cut' might be too big a description.  I have finally found a hairdresser who listens to me ... a hairdresser that doesn't immediately start cutting while attempting to make me stylish.  She also found a way of unifying the damage I had done with my boxes of hair colour bought at the supermarket.  I can only adore her for this.

The Belgian boke's frozen shoulders are almost completely recovered.  His flu is gone, and the relapse he had seems to have left the building too ... as of last night.  Fingers crossed.

We're slowly making our way towards Christmas.  We have a tree, some presents, and plans are being made with regard to the food.  Since returning from that Christmas we spent at home, back in 2012, I have flashbacks to how good it was there ... in summer.  And the food.  And the way that my sister made sure I was spoiled.  It was like a journey back to my childhood ... almost.

The haircut and colour ... it's below.  I think I take the worst photographs of myself.  I'd like to claim that the light in the bathroom is bad, that I use a telefoto lens and end up jammed against the wall but really, there are no excuses.  It's more about the fact I quite like the difficult light and employ a little ineptitude when it comes to self-portraits.  I like the blur and shake of it all, the strange lighting and I remain defiant in my use of the tele-foto.  Not something I would teach but I might say, know the rules and then break them.  Don't be afraid to play a little.

Sunday
Dec142014

Georgia O'Keeffe, on making the unknown known.

I feel that a real living form is the result of the individual’s effort to create the living thing out of the adventure of his spirit into the unknown—where it has experienced something—felt something—it has not understood—and from that experience comes the desire to make the unknown—known.

By unknown—I mean the thing that means so much to the person that wants to put it down—clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand—sometimes he partially knows why—sometimes he doesn’t—sometimes it is all working in the dark—but a working that must be done—

Making the unknown—known—in terms of one’s medium is all-absorbing—if you stop to think of the form—as form you are lost—The artist’s form must be inevitable—You mustn’t even think you won’t succeed—Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing.

Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you—catching crystallizing your simpler clearer version of life—only to see it turn stale compared to what you vaguely feel ahead—that you must always keep working to grasp—the form must take care of its self if you can keep your vision clear.

Georgia O’Keeffe (painter) writing to Sherwood Anderson (writer).  

Source: Brain Pickings.

There was something about this small article, by Maria Popova, that made me want to note these words and keep them to read again and again.  I loved the first paragraph most particularly.

I enjoy reading what artists write to each other, seeming to want to think on an important thing that so many wouldn't find important or interesting.  Sometimes these things seem like the real stuff of life, as opposed to the forms we fill out and the lives that we Must live in that 'real' world people talk of.

Soon I will be heading off on another adventure, in a small village somewhere between Naples and Rome.  There is a house and some dogs that I've been invited to visit, while breathing some good country air, with a view that I suspect I might want to photograph every day.

There is a book that wants to be written, or two.  There are the photography workshops to announce, the ones I've planned for 2015.  There is a bar where I'm hoping the espresso is perfect and where my beloved crema brioches are possible.  Where there's a delightful red wine waiting for me.

Another adventure in Italy, in that land where everything is possible and sometimes, just sometimes, you find giantic lightbulbs out in the carrugi.

Sunday
Dec142014

Photographed ... in the Carrugi, Genova

The author of Dear Miss Fletcher published one of my photographs, the one where I captured her at work in her beautiful city.

I saw her there in the distance and broke my promise not to photograph her.  But really, I would have deleted if she hadn't approved.  In this instance she felt it was the perfect photograph of her and here you have her.

I still remember her walking me through streets I had walked so often but without an intimate knowledge of the secrets they held.  And so often she would turn to me and tell me, 'I have something to show you ...'  

And so often, she did.

Thursday
Dec112014

Old Friends, & New ... 

I haven't talked with Tanya since we were teenagers.  We reconnected via Facebook and soon worked out that catching up was something we'd like to do ... next time she was in Europe.

Tanya and Ruby flew arrived on Tuesday, postponed by a day due to the very 'special' union strike actions taking place here ... that would be the one that shut down the international airport on Monday. 

We picked up where we'd left off really and it's been a marvelous few days of stories and laughter.  Some wine too.  There will be photographs but for the most part, talking has taken precedence. 

Old friends from far-away are good friends.

Meanwhile I'm told Christmas is approaching.  I don't see it  ... there are no Dawsons cherries on display, no strawberries.  The weather is grey and cold.  The kids are still in school.  No daylight saving.

I'm currently caught in the Christmas grinch mode, not feeling Christmassy at all but perhaps it will pass.  Anyway, for now there's a few more days to enjoy with Tanya and Ruby and that is something to smile about.

A happy memory in the image below.  Lorenzo is a long-time friend from Genova, owner of Cibi e Libri, and this visit saw me introduced to his project partners, Peter and composer, Stefano Fasce.

Saturday
Dec062014

TROPOI, by the FroeFroe Theater.

Ruth had wondered, a while ago, if Miss 10 might enjoy attending some of the Christmas theatre happening here in the city.  I said I was sure that she would and voila, Ruth booked us all in for a performance by the FroFroe Theater ... titled TROPOI.

The performance was based on the book and movie, The Parfum, with the main character being an exquisitely made, and stunningly operated, puppet called Castiglio.  I have no idea where to lavish the most praise as the performance was mind-blowing.  There were the puppets, the actors, the singers and the musicians, all coming together to create a stunning show that I feel so fortunate to have seen

Did I mention the superb medieval and baroque music played on original instruments...! 

I could rave on for paragraphs but here's a taste of what the Belgian press wrote:

TROPOI shows what grand performances the puppet theatre is capable of giving.  De Morgen.  TROPOI is one of the best productions this season. De Bond.  FroeFroe can add another success to its prize list. Zone 03.  TROPOI shows you not only the magic of music, but also the magic of the puppet theatre. Impressive. De Standaard.

You can get a small taste of tonight's performance in the video below.  I hope I get to see many more of their performances.  Brilliant.  Miss 10 thought so too.

tropoi trailer from Jan Bosteels on Vimeo.

Thursday
Dec042014

Missing Genova

I miss Via Ravecca, the open window I work next to there, and the noise of the street below. 

I love the way life sounds lived there in the old part of the city of Genova.

I miss the smell of the farinata nearby.  And the overflow of people, their talk and their laughter, at Pizzeria Ravecca. 

I miss walking through Porta Soprana on my way to someplace nice everyday.

I miss the beautiful fountain in Piazza De Ferrari.  And I miss Palazzo Ducale.

I miss 15 celsius because I have returned to -1 celsius. 

I miss interviewing the people of Genova about their quietly remarkable lives.

I'm missing Genova.

The photograph here was taken by Dear Miss Fletcher ... who wrote, E poi siamo passate all’Antica Barberia Giacalone.

Tuesday
Dec022014

New Boots ...

I had decided to head back to Belgium, cautiously wearing my broken boots however ... on the way to the supermarket this morning I accidentally looked in the window of the Bata shoe shop.  It's on Via XX Settembre, at 270-272R.  I wandered in, just to browse.

I'm so  glad I did.  The women working there were lovely and so are my new boots.  They had a special deal on ... buy 3 pair and get the second most expensive pair for just 1 euro.    And I loved the idea of that because I loved 3 pair of their shoes however I only bought one pair. 

They were on sale, at 39euro, and I thought them so very beautiful. 

Sadly, my feet are currently hating them.  I floated round the city in them all day, not realising till I reached the other end of town, that some breaking-in would have to take place.  I am home now, wearing my slippers, wondering how tomorrow will go because I may have already thrown out my old broken boots.

Porca miseria ...

But aren't they beautiful.