Latest News
Follow Di's board La Superba - An ancient Italian city on Pinterest.

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
Search
Next workshop

the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099

Wednesday
Nov262014

La Vita è Bella - or Meeting Mau.

Back in August, I discovered Maurizio's blog via some beautiful photographs he took of people I simply adore here in Genova.  He had titled that post Il Sogno di Francesca e Norma

I added his blog to my blogreader thingy and enjoyed reading his stories.  His work means he travels ... extensively.  There is no other way to describe the way so many different countries appear on his blog.  But the thing that truly fascinated me was the way that people, from all over the world, seemed to trust him to take their photographs.  This isn't an easy thing.  I was curious.

One of his bases is Genova.  Like me, he's pretty much head-over-heels in love with this city and I think it shows in the images he captures, accompanied by stories, whenever he's here.  He's Italian but speaks other languages too.

It turned out that we were going to be in Genova, at the same time, for just a couple of days.  So today was the day that we met for lunch.  But lunch Mau-style. 

This means that we went to that tiny local restaurant, so full of character that I'm surprised the building doesn't break apart from the strain of it all, and ate a most divine lunch ... served by people who truly enjoy seeing him.  Not hesitating to mock or advise him but also showing their deep affection for him.

We ate tagliolini al pesto, ravioli al tocco, cima with insalata russa and arrosto con purea.  There a glass or two of Nebbiolo as well.  A dessert was brought to the table despite us deciding we wouldn't order any.  Did I mention how much these people enjoyed seeing him?

We moved on, heading down to a gelateria he knows.  Again he was greeted so warmly and I was given more than a few small spoons of gelato to taste due to being there with Mau.  I will be returning to that place of divine gelato, again in the months ahead.  I'll post on it once I have all the details.  There was much talking, I didn't make notes ...

I was introduced to the couple who own a vege and fruit stall, and went back to them this evening to buy pumpkin and onions for my pumpkin soup.  But really, where ever this man goes in the city, people smile.  He has this idea, this belief, that life is beautiful ... and he seems gifted in making it true.

Finally he organised a photograph, one he'd taken of me over lunch, onto a usb stick and introduced me to the most superb printing shop I've never found here in Genova.  It's hidden.  So hidden.  I know this because I've been searching for one like it since first arriving here back in 2008.

So I have this large laser print of the photograph you'll find over on Mau's blog.  The one where I'm realising there's a camera pointing at me and there's no escape.  I'm the most difficult photographic subject I know

I popped back to see the printers tonight and had 3 prints made for Barbara.  A small series from the family photo session I did last Sunday.  The large laser prints are so veryvery affordable (less than 2 euros) that I suddenly have a way of gifting people the photographs I take of them while here.  I'm rapt.

So Mau has raced off back into the world.  I wandered out for an aperitivo with Barbara.  This city ... I do love being here.

Oh, and the photograph below. As photographers, we confessed to a mutually intense dislike of having our photographs taken however we allowed it today.

Tuesday
Nov252014

Some Sublime ... 

Genova is one of those places where something sublime seems to happen most days.

Monday I finally slowed down and organised myself here at Paola's place.  I was expecting/planning a quiet night but suddenly it became one of those extraordinary evenings that involved me following instructions, boarding a bus and arriving at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, home of the Genoa football team.  

Extraordinary  because I started following the Genoa back in those days when I lived in New Zealand.  I was a rugby kind of woman in some ways but sport is religion back home and so I was open to being curious about most sports.

In Istanbul, Genoa kept me safe when my students (always) asked which team I supported ... Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, or Trabzonspor?  I would calmly reply, Genoa.  Shocking them into acceptance.

In Belgium, I attempted to switch my support to Antwerp but found I couldn't.  Genoa had occupied that part of my heart and there was no point in trying to change.

And so I follow their news here and it works well enough.  The games appear as live text.  I was fine with this (because I had to be) but last night ... LAST NIGHT I WAS AT THE GAME. 

Ohmygoodness.  You know when something is so amazing that you can't believe it is real? 

It was like that.

When I first started following the team, I lived more than 16,000kms away.  Last night, there was the team, directly below me.   And they were good. 

I think this is the best team since I began following although, I should note that one has to reserve large amounts of pessimism and display almost no hope, for fear of jinxing a good run but the team this year ... it's good.  Really good.

So, yesterday's sublime was finally attending a game at the superb Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

A huge grazie mille to those who made it happen. 

Sunday
Nov232014

Days Full of Music and Laughter ... Genova

Saturday night and I was invited to Alessandra's place, with Barbara, Federico and Davide too, for aperitivo before heading out to Teatro Govi and a superb show by the Paul McCartney tribute band(not the best sample but it gives you a sense of their talent perhaps).

Genova is gifting me some beautiful music this visit.  2 nights in a row and there has been music that has had me trying not to  rock out of my seat and dance.

But it's more about the fact that I know some really good people here ... and I'm meeting more all the time. 

Barbara has been teaching me Italian in the quiet times and has actually given me hope that I might speak it one day.  She was surprised to realise I had the sounds required. (I was probably more surprised.  I'm so used to apologising for all of my languages that to be praised felt like some kind of magic).  I will go on with the work.  I think it's more than time I learned to speak here.

Today was all about a most divine Sunday lunch and yes, that was me, the New Zealander there in the midst of her beautiful warmhearted family.  Afterwards there was a family photography session and so much laughter that I'm still smiling.

It's been like that ...

Sunday
Nov232014

Club La Claque, Genova

I love Genova. It's a city of secrets that can be difficult to find but they are so stunningly intense when discovered.

Friday night, Barbara invited me out to Club La Claque and for just 15 euro we were able to listen to Stefano Marelli sing with the truly talented trumpet player, Raffaele, accompanying him.  I would love to hear more of their music. 

Then came Marina Rei and her magnificent band and they played until midnight.  I can't even begin to describe her performance.  She drums as she sings, plays keyboards too, and her voice is divine.  Finding a youtube performance that begins to capture her is difficult.

Walking back through the city after midnight, some Palestinian/Syrian guys were giving the most delicious impromptu musical performance I've seen.  Somehow they radiated joy and pulled all those passing by into their circle of music. I ended up talking to their friend from Lebanon for a while.

So ... Friday was just another beautiful night here in Genova.

Friday
Nov212014

Genova!

I'm back in Genova and so truly madly deeply glad to be here. 

It seemed like I had plugged into some kind of joy-refill machine as soon as I stepped off the plane in Milan.  And that feeling grew as the train took me across the plains and in through the hills to Genova.

I am here.  And that ... that is a very good thing.

Photographs and stories to follow in the days ahead.

Tuesday
Nov182014

A True Story, Naomi Shihab Nye

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

By Naomi Shihab Nye, a wandering poet.

The rest of the story is here

Poetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
Tuesday
Nov182014

Gate-Climbing ... 

It began harmlessly enough ... gate-climbing as soon as I worked out the 'how' of it. 

Another memory from long ago, quiet excitement ... a gap in the hedge that surrounded my childhood home.  They closed that up pretty quickly once they realised how I was slipping away.

Me and my trike, then my bike, traveled far and wide ... or as far as my lazy legs would carry me.  Then came the car and that seemed like the best freedom so far, until I flew over to Istanbul.  And zipped off to Rome.  Then ended up in Belgium, discovered France, Holland and every place else in Europe was easily reachable.

'Gate-climbing' on steroids.

Then Genova, Italy.  That place I keep on returning to ... since 2008.  That exquisitely ancient city surrounded by beautiful hills and the sea. 

These days I can wander where ever I want but I keep returning.

I'm flying this week. 

14 days in that city I love ...

Listening to The Sweet Remains these days, specially Ghost in the Orange Blossom Air.

Saturday
Nov152014

Wholeheartedness ...

Friday
Nov142014

About the long silence ...

I've been writing blog posts here ... then deleting blog posts, since finding out I have this iron deficiency.

I am consumed, these days, by the anemia.  So frustrated.  To the point where something about it slips into every post I try to write and I get so far through, see I've been whining, and delete.

Perhaps I just need to write, getting over the block and accepting it all as a timely life lesson.  Perhaps I shouldn't try to do everything all of the time.  Perhaps I should have taken vitamins, rested more, eaten more sensibly. 

I wish I had. 

I was raised in a particular way.  We like to ignore these impediments.  I broke my navicular bone, they missed the break on the x-ray, told me to walk on it ... and I did, till they found it.

A hospital once sent me home with a burning hot, bright red swollen knee.  No accident to report in New Zealand, no treatment.  See your GP. 

He was enraged on my behalf.  I had cellulitis.  There was me, so embarassed by being sent home from the hospital, that I walked on it till he could see me.  Six courses of antibiotics later ...

But anemia.  You actually can't push through it.  Or I can't.  Every time I over-do it, I pay.  It's like I can't cheat here.  It's 4 months until the doctor retests my iron levels.   Gert suggested this was because my level of iron deficiency was such that it would take that long.  He thinks I should be patient.

I think I have to be.

To add to the misery of this, coffee and red wine interfere with iron uptake.  I laughed as I wrote that.  Can you believe it???

And I know it's minor but minor usually means I can find a way round it.  I can't.  I'm slowinggggggg right down, trying to accommodate this difficult guest.

However today a lovely client-to-be filled me with inspiration.  I've been working here at the computer, plotting and planning, all day.  Taking facebook breaks when breaks were required.  Cleaning a little ... knowing fish and chips are booked in as that unhealthy but simple dinner tonight.

A good day after a series of epic days lately.  The Belgian Bloke crashed into bed with 3 intense days of fever, he spent something like 53 out of 64 hours sleeping, and was only just on his feet when he returned to work after a week. 

In fact so much goes on behind-the-scenes here that sometimes I'm tempted to share it all but it's always too whiny.  And so ... let's see if I've turned a corner.  The stairs to my office are noticeably easier ... small steps, Diane.  Small steps.

I've been searching out photographs from years past, for a 5-day challenge on Facebook, and found this one.  A  favourite of mine.

 

Sunday
Nov092014

Scenes from My Photography Exhibition

It's taken me a week to even make an attempt to write about the weekend that was because it was overwhelming ... sublime, full of friends and laughter.  It was full.

The photography exhibition went right to the wire, in terms of preparedness.  I may have overcommitted myself a little but that's my style.  I should know this thing about me by now.  We had 6 house-guests over the 3 days but that was pure magic as well.  I know so many good people.

Teresa arrived first, over from London and we had much to talk about.  There I was cooking bacon and egg savouries for the exhibition opening, writing up descriptions for the photographs that Gert and Sander had helped me hang in the morning, drinking a little red wine from New Zealand, while Teresa and Miss 10 tied ribbons around little packets of postcards by Di.

Ren and Egil flew in from Norway.  Shannon and Erik drove over from Holland.  Kim also came in from England and before I knew it, it was all on.  Cars, directions, trams, even bicycles.  People arrived at the reception.

Hilde, from the Choice New Zealand shop here in Antwerp, was hosting the exhibition, and she made sure that the New Zealand wine flowed, as did tasty little NZ inspired snacks.   Friends and family just kept on arriving and my heart sang.

But perhaps you get a sense of the atmosphere, the good people, the beautiful evening via this selection of photographs taken by Kim and Teresa.  I'm so grateful.  I'd love to have documented it but I was too far into it all, as warned when I mentioned I might take my camera. 

So very into it.  Thank you to everyone who came out and supported me.