1933, a maze of amazingly original architecture, flying bridges, spiral staircases, dimly lit corridors, an eerie feeling of disorientation, and a must location to challenge any aspiring photographer. I love returning to this building again and again, that primarily served as a cattle slaughterhouse after its construction in 1933 in Hongkou, later a cold storage facility, and a medicine factory among other uses; it now hosts creative spaces, restaurants and shops as well as a few bewildered photographers. The possibilities here are endless to create, dream and compose.
Pingyao, an ancient town in the Shanxi province of China, completely walled, preserved and authentic looking, is home to the yearly Pingyao photography festival where thousands of photographer meet. I visited for 3 days as 2 of my photographs were curated and included in a show there and during the last 2 days, it rained endlessly setting a beautiful mood for photography. I walked and walked, got drenched and took some photos that I will treasure for always.
When you live in a big city with very tall buildings and millions of people, you find yourself focused on the immediate area around you, navigating the ocean of people, avoiding the cars and bike zipping by and keeping close watch on any impending danger that you forget to look up. I remember that we could always tell if someone was a tourist in New York because they looked up!
When I think of New York, I picture many little streams that have their sources all over the planet and I see them flowing and coming together to make one river that is Manhattan. Branches appear to flow too in a very organic way starting with the small roots that come and join at the trunk only to branch out again like tributaries of a river. So many different roots come together to make the massive tree that New York is today and this variety is what makes it ever so special.
In a dense city like New York, having a rooftop or access to one is as precious as gold. It the place where you can ‘breathe’, where you can see a part of the sky that is larger than a matchbox and it is in many ways like going on vacation. So many things take place on New York rooftops, parties, hide outs, secret kisses, sunbathing, art, smoking, drinking and simply chilling. Oh, and also most films like to have their chases on at least one rooftop where the actor makes these impossible jumps from building to building. I was really caught by some colorful rooftops I saw on my last trip to New York, in this case, in Brooklyn.
New York, it rises from its ashes each and every time to prove time and again that ‘when there is a will there is a way’. And New York’s will is not like any other, it the combined strength of warriors that gather from all over the world powered by their vision and their wish to stand out from the pack. I remember living through the attacks of September 11th and seeing such a gloom that I thought this powerful city would never recover from. But it did, and it always will because of the will of its people. Yes, it is a city built to withstand the storms of the world to evolve into something better and greater.
The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), dedicated in its past to butcher shops, it is charming beyond belief as it sits in bright colors over the Arno river. It reminded me fo Lego blocks, something else that makes me smile 🙂
Another one of the architectural marvels of Tuscany, the so called “zebra cathedral” with its black and white marble is just a stunning structure from both the inside and out. You could spend hours trying to decipher the codes of a place like this, the numerology and symbolism of it are begging investigation. The mystery in history…