I am trying to write this post while a child is screaming and another one is running around asking for milk. We are in the happy yet chaotic limbo that precedes the birth of a new baby,in my case as you know, the third one.I am often amazed at how the excitement is always there no matter if first second or third time. We all seem to be on a high (children included) expecting something we don’t know yet, with mixed feelings that swing back and forth between curiosity, anticipation, fear and a bit of healthy stress. I honestly have no time to pause and think too much. I have no time to write or be connected to the online world all the time.I don’t have time and don’t want to have it.I marvel at how my thoughts that for all these nine months have been spread in hundreds of different directions, are now all concentrate on my family and how to deal with all the new dynamics that this birth will present. This is the time when I usually withdraw into myself, trying to find the focus and concentration needed to make that effort that in my case will not be physical but only mental, to welcome a new life into our family. It will happen in two days and we have lots on our plate. A new city to move to, a new home, a new life. Lots to do and lots to be thankful for. All I can say is that , simply, I am happy.
Yes time for good byes is approaching and since I am pretty sure I won't have the time to write another post before I leave, I thought I better do it now in these file minutes of quiet before afternoon nap will end. I plan to write a post about our summer soon in the meantime I just want to say good bye and thank you, for again this year we have been blessed with a beautiful summer a month and a half of splashing in grandparents pool in Israel first and then running barefoot in grandparents yard in Italy , together with various cousins. It's been a summer of blackberry picking, garden watering, showers with the hose, stars big like rocks, slow walks and ice creams, food lots of food and fruits straight from the trees. A summer of heat and breeze, a summer of pure energy, little puppies , grand parents visits, dinners in the yard and best best memories. There have been a few spoilers of course and I will talk about it later, or maybe not. I feel it would be unfair to judge these last two months mainly by the bad things that happened. there has been plenty to enjoy and I want to remember it, all the rest f….it! It's behind us.I am 8 months pregnant now and getting ready for my flight home to China. I am tired, sometimes worried but certain that I need strength and optimism to welcome a little one in our life and into this world. of course there have been things I had planned to do that I didn't manage to, of course the only spare moments I had I just wanted to lay down on a chair and rest, but that's all part of it.those moments of rest were much needed and much deserved above all they were well spent with people I love and whose company is rare and precious because I don't always enjoy it. I know I will miss those moments. I know it.
I am loving looking into other people summers through pictures, tales, thoughts.i hope you are all still enjoying my favorite season. In my mind I am all ready for autumn and for all that it will carry.
P.s. all of these pictures have been posted on instagram but since there s too many of them totally I will post part two in a separate entry. Most of our photographs have been taken with. Y iPhone which was a real saver allowing me to still document our days in my very limited time.
Today is my birthday and the day couldn't have started in a better way. There was a wonderful light seeping through the curtains of my old room's balcony. I woke up this morning with a somewhat beautiful and strange feeling of accomplishment, like this birthday is safely bringing me back to a shore, after struggling with so many little storms. The fact that I am here might be a coincidence and might be not but i like to think that this is where I am meant to be on this day. If I look back I see so much difference between what I used to be and what I am today I see a much open person, much more confident one, somebody who stands at the end of a circle that is now closed and is eager to start the next one. It must be true, or we should stop believing our feelings and this in my world is just not an option. I see all the love, the good luck and the blessings I had. I see the fears I went through, all my insecurities and although all of this has not magically disappeared I feel like today I am much better equipped to face them. I see this crazy journey of motherhood and what it brough to me. The challenges, the frustrations, the anxiety and the love. I see the two of us and I feel full of love, the kind of love that makes you strong and so vulnerable at the same time, but that for this makes you a real person , a complete one. I see all the people that inhabit my life. Some from the present some from the past and I understand that no matter what they are always there and they Are so important and special and good to me. And it's so good to reconnect even if just for birthday wishes. Because life and distance does get in the way but doesn't erase the love for each other.
I received the most amazing present for my birthday, from the most special person in my life. He was he is and will be still my most special one the one I feel so lucky to have met. He gave me a small silver box engraved with initials.it is a woman's (presumably) cigarettes holder and comes from the beginning of the last century. As usual by touching it and smelling the inside of it I liked to imagine who this box might have belonged to and could'nt help but thinking about the connection between us. This box came to me for a reason on my birthday. I like to think it belonged to a woman, a confident woman who was not afraid of being herself, somebody far ahead of times in that age. I'd like to think we might have been friends, just like year after year I learned how to befriend the woman that now inhabits my body. How to be more understanding and forgiving of her how to come to term with her idiosyncrasies and appreciate her sensitivity and not seeing it as a sign of weakness. I can't help but thinking this is the best present I could give her today on her birthday and it's finally not a mere intention but a beautiful heartfelt reality. Happy birthday to you, may this be a year of light.
It's been almost a month I have been away from here and I must say I feel pretty bad about it. June has been an hectic month, much busier than I had expected between friends and mother in law's visits, an exhibition, working at Sacs magazine summer issue plus photo shoots and editing to make. I felt like I barely had time to catch up with my online world except than for my Facebook page. Moreover, our summer holidays started a week earlier than planned since we had to fly to Israel in a hurry due to B small operation to his back. We had a tough recovery from a long and difficult flight but thank god it's over we are better and getting ready to fly again to Italy this Sunday. Between colds fevers and generally tiredness we didn't have time to enjoy Israel properly but still we enjoy the family, the good food, great friends and wonderful sunshine. This summer will be mainly documented by my iPhone and my my new Olympus om1 who is awaiting for me in italy. I am also trying to get the hang out of blogging from iPad since my computer has issues again that need to be properly taken care of. Sometimes I feel like the time I have to dedicate to certain things is less and less and from September it will be even more so. This at times makes me feel frustrated but i am also realistic and ready to come to terms with it. Perhaps my blogging experience is coming to an end, who knows although I still love this space and hope to keep it for as long as i can to at least save a little corner of sanity in the madness that is my life to come. I also feel like I haven't really had time to actually enjoy or even think about this pregnancy because life just pulled me in so many different directions I found it difficult to sit, breathe and think about this very special time in my life. Anyway, I hope the iPad will actually make it easier for me to share bits of our summer and I hope to become more regular over the next weeks . In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful summer. This is such a special time of the year, enjoy it.
To start a series about food by writing about eggs sounds a little bit disappointing doesn’t it? Instead, I think for me it’s more than appropriate. That’s because eggs have been one of the biggest rediscoveries I made in the last couple of years. I have an allergic son for whom thank God at least eggs are safe to eat, and he loves them. So they have helped me greatly in overcoming what I always called the “big breakfast dilemma”. I come from a country that is well known for its excellent culinary tradition, but not for…breakfast. I mean what is the typical Italian breakfast made of? Milk? biscuits? cappuccino and “cornetto” ? Cornflakes? Sad, a bit sad. I mean these things can all be so very good but they don’t make an healthy breakfast that’s for sure. In my family we always had eggs, not for breakfast of course, but I always remember my parents saying that eggs should be eaten sparingly for cholesterol issues and they are not wrong. We would have them as frittata mostly or scrambled for a quick dinner (and frittata sandwiches for school trips, my mother classic). Sometimes fried and sometime poached. My mother used to make the most beautiful frittatas with all kinds of vegetables: peppers, zucchini, spinach or potatoes. I still remember dinner at my grandfather’s where I used to stay very often, we would eat sometimes fried eggs with tomatoes which is very very similar to the Israeli shackshouka and he used to cook it in the same kind of iron pan. Something that really almost shocked me the first time I had Shakshouka in Israel.(by the way wouldn’t it be so interesting to investigate the influences in food and culture contamination across the Mediterranean countries?) Chinese like to scramble eggs together with stir fried vegetables and they have their own version of tomatoes and eggs (西紅柿炒鸡蛋）that I used to eat all the time with steamed rice when I was studying in Beijing because it was something that somehow resembled home food. To me it was delicious. These days, I use eggs to make the most perfect breakfast. Until a few years ago it was inconceivable for me to have eggs for breakfast I just could not understand how “those Americans/British” people did it. Well’ when I mean eggs for breakfast I don’t exactly mean four scrambled eggs with bacon and fried beans but a lighter and somehow kinder to the body version. It started with a first time we had an open sandwich made with toasted bread a thin layer of mustard , smoked salmon, some kind of greens and a beautiful poached egg placed on top. It was so delicious that we couldn’t even believe something so simple could give so much satisfaction. But that was a luxury we only kept for week ends. These days instead perhaps because I am pregnant and I tend to be quite hungry in the morning, we repeat the same concept almost daily but without the smoked salmon. I really love all the breakfast preparation in the morning, makes the home so lively.The possible variations are endless. I would still start with a thin layer of mayo (I prefer the vegan kind called “Vegenaise”, so much lighter and so good) or mustard and then put maybe avocado (when I have it, it’s my favorite version) , or tomatoes with rucola/raw spinach or lettuce, everything is possible but at the end what makes this sandwich great is still that glorious little poached egg we put on top that drips all over while you eat it and makes the whole construction of veggies underneath inevitably crumble. But that’s part of the fun. Today I tried a variation with one scrambled egg, equally delicious just a bit heavier. And if you really want to be decadent you can add some smoked salt flakes or truffle oil (we got it from Italy last time we were there and only now found the perfect use for it). You’ll see that your day will start in a much better way. My son loves hard boiled eggs so I give it to him as a break from the usual bowl of oatmeal we still have a few mornings a week. So,say good bye to your sad cornflakes and try it , it doesn’t have to be every day but a little luxury a couple of days a week goes a long way.
p.s. really good eggs aren’t easy to find in Shenzhen. I had just discovered this American guy called Jeff who had is own chicken farm and used to deliver very fresh (and big) eggs. I got all excited by it until I sadly discovered he decided to close the whole thing because he wasn’t able to take care of it by himself. I buy my eggs at the butcher’s shop in Seaworld now , or at the organic shop in Rose garden 2.I think it has to do with the way I have been raised, but I remember my father always saying that eggs should be fresh or otherwise don’t even bother eating them. He taught me how to see a fresh egg and since then I became obsessed.
Today there is only him. I look at this picture and all I think is: I love this boy so much. It sounds cheesy and so obvious, but that’s what suddenly comes to my mind when I look at him. Last Friday I took him with me to a photoshoot, he actually insisted he wanted to come. Every excuse is a good one to spend time with me and from this I realize how much he needs it, how much he needs me. Perhaps is the thought of another brother/sister on the way who will further reduce the portion of attention he can get from me, but these days, I think, I actually feel he is more and more stubbornly attached to me. He sat on the stairs, like a good boy watching over my stuff while I was taking the first photos, then time came to change location and I started walking fast, asking him impatiently to follow me. But he didn’t move, he stood, while grabbing his cars, he didn’t follow me and he started to cry instead. When I checked to see what’s going on he said, I want to go home. to the playground. I explained to him I could not be there with him and he said he didn’t mind. So I took him home to his brother and he went without crying, without resistance. Then I thought about it and I realized I hurt him, i realize it wasn’t time for him to go fast, he didn’t really want to come to “take pictures with mummy” he just and simply wanted to be with me.
Every morning he wakes up and comes to our bed , snuggles next to me and hugs me, for those two minutes before his brother wakes up, it’s just, once again, only the two of us.
This week’s summary is all focused on art as I am going to show you my favorites from Art Basel Hong Kong.
The past week has been a very busy one for me when all the work seems to be concentrating in these last few weeks before I fly to Italy for summer holidays. What I am learning is that I cannot do too much and that sometimes I just have to let things go. It’s a matter of priorities of course. Moreover , I am almost six months pregnant, so one more reason to take it easy.
Of course this little summary is not representative of the best of the exhibition, it’s just what caught my eyes and there were countless of artworks worth mentioning. Like every time I go to an art fair, I loved the feeling of being immersed by art and love looking at all the artsy crowd. We didn’t really get anything but it was enough to get inspired and get to know the work of more artists. For me that’s usually the main purpose of my visits. And the smell, of course. Nothing can beat the smell of an art Gallery or an art space. There is just something about it that brings me back to a particular day. But I’ll tell you about it another time. Have a nice week end!
1.Garry Fabian Miller Sections of England: The Sea Horizon No 9, 1976-77, series two, printed 2013 Lambda c-type print.
Art Basel introduced me to the work of Garry Fabian Miller, a British photographer whose work was presented by Edimburgh based Ingleby Gallery. Much of his body of work is made up of camera-less photography and I find the concept absolutely fascinating, although I loved this series Sea Horizons presented at the fair.Part of his work is now part of a collection at Victoria and Albert Museum.
2.”Hello” by Peter Liversidge, courtesy of Ingleby Gallery
4.Ling Jian Lu Mountain Angel, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Tang Contemporary Art.
5.Gary Hume Suicide Snowman, 2013 Marble and corian, Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.
6.Nick Brandt Elephant with Exploding Dust, Amboseli, 2004 Platinum print Edition of 30
Courtesy of the artist and ATLAS Gallery.
7.Insook Kim, Auction II, 2013, C-print, diasec, Courtesy of the artist and 313 Art Project.
8.Nandan Ghiya Heritage Honeymoons, 2013 Photograph, acrylic paint and wood Diptych, courtesy of Exhibit 320
9.Atul Bhalla Adrift, 2012 Diasec print
Courtesy of the artist and Vadehra Art Gallery.
The most interesting part about working as a freelance photographer, is the insight you get during conversations with potential clients. Most of the time they share their views on photography and the info you can get are precious in helping you understand your style and the road are willing to take and what, instead, it’s not for you. I have been questioning my relationship with photography a lot lately. The decision to start taking my photography journey to another level was actually pretty casual. And I am thankful for that because this means I can still do it without the pressure that normally building a proper “business” brings. It comes mostly from the necessity to be “pushed’ to create more and having clients is often a way to learn more about my skills and about where I want to go. It also has a personal meaning, because it pushes me to overcome my usual perfectionism and stretch myself into directions that are sometimes uncomfortable but so useful to my personal and artistic growth. There is many kind of photographers and many kind of photography and everyday I try to figure out where I belong.Nowadays photography is extremely accessible and Internet has made it even more so. Potentially we all could be photographers and find our place can be a bit overwhelming. There has been a time when I felt the urgency to distinguish myself, to set myself apart from the flickr crowd (which is made by very talented people, by the way) and I thought that the only way was going back to school. So I got in touch with a very good school to inquiry about earning a Master of fine arts. At that time it seemed like a dream. Life in the meantime got in the way and the project sort of fell apart but in my heart I never gave up the idea of earning a degree that would have “legitimized” me as a photographer. Until I understood something. Just like for any other professions, exception made for those who have a more strict requirements (like medicine, or law or things like that) studying can be done in many ways and can still be an enriching experience if taken from a different angle that doesn’t include traditional paths. (I published a post on my facebook page about a very interesting book on the subject) If you are not willing to practice constantly, make mistakes and learn on the way it’s very easy to give up even with a degree in your hands. Being the nerd that I am I don’t rule out the possibility of going back to school in the future, and I still take workshops here and there, but for now, I decided that what I need is simply to practice more and teach myself through this practice. I didn’t have to wait for a series of conditions : school, a bigger apartment to build my own little studio, better equipment, I didn’t need all this, I could start right now with what I had. And this is what I am doing.
Whenever I have conversations with people about photography the funniest questions arise. Typically the first question I am always asked is: are you a professional photographer? My answer usually is: define professional. Normally what people mean by ” professional photographer” may vary according to the person. Some people think a professional is someone who has a studio and of course, professional gear, some people think a professional is somebody who has a degree, whereas some people, like recently happened to me, think professional photographers are those able to take passport pictures.Most of the time, asking if you are a “professional photographer” implies the question: are you a good photographer? Even if the two things are not always related. If you reply to such questions with a simple “I am an amateur” you are normally promptly dismissed and not taken seriously even if, and this is probably ignored by most people, amateurs many times are much more talented than professionals and are notorious equipment freaks. Very few people actually know or think that being a professional photographer in the end boils down to one simple thing: a choice. Professional photographers are those who decide to monetize their passion and make it their profession. And by doing this they are abviously taking some risks. Photography is fascinating to a lot of people, but truth is, not all of them bother to actually learn a bit more about it. So there are two kinds of interlocutors: either the one who knows nothing but pretend he does and in this category I will also include those who think that digital photography is not real photography because you can “photoshop it” (you can also photoshop film , by the way) and those who know too much and during the conversation start to list all the cameras they have owned since they were, of course, six years old, including the most mysterious names. Truth is, there is many kind of photographers and may kind of photography. I could give you countless of examples of beautiful photography styles that are completely different from one another. Photography is not only fashion photography, or photojournalism or studio photography. It’s a vast world that, fortunately, includes all kind of creative nuances and it’s so good that people have the freedom to experiment with all of them. And a camera or a lens certainly does not make the photographer, just like a degree doesn’t. So going back to the initial question of what kind of photographer I think I am my answer is that I am still trying to figure it out. but one thing I know.
Some photographer like to focus on the perfect shot, they want to capture beauty in the most perfect way. Some photographers want to capture reality. I think I want to capture the beauty in reality and by reality I mean our daily lives, the simple moments that they are made of, the corners of the streets, the connection between people everything that is so little and mundane that often gets overlooked. There are some excellent photographers out there whose job is to inform us of what happens in the world and how our humanity is struggling and I have a deep respect for their work and their choices. But I also know that for now, I have a much more simple mission: to document the everyday in the most beautiful way that I can.
I have nothing against classic portraits or for example fashion photography ,if the photographer is skilled, they can be breathtakingly beautiful. But this is not what interests me. There is a part of photography that goes far beyond the perfect balance of aperture and shutter speed and Iso and perfect studio lighting conditions , and it’s the narrative aspect of it. Through my photos I found a way to make some of the stories that always crowd my head real, through a shot I remember of a moment I try to recreate a feeling, I tell a story. I always wanted to be a writer and I still love writing but this encounter with photography made my inner world even richer and more intense than I thought it could be. Photography literally means “writing with light’ not writing with your camera the more expensive the better.And there is clearly no limit to the things you can write. The camera is just a medium and your vision is the purpose. So what I like to see in a shot is the story of a moment,being it the corner of a home in a cozy winter afternoon, or a smile revealing the connection between people, that very moment that is raw, unedited but so real and therefore so precious. This is why more than photo sessions I like to talk about photo stories.And this is why, I think that in the end to be a good photographer you certainly need to strike that famous balance but apart from this what you really need is your sight and your heart to accompany it. I encourage you to approach this beautiful art not with fear (like I used to do when I was afraid to call myself a photographer because i thought I wasn’t good enough and I didn’t belong to the world of photographers who clearly live on another planet) but with enthusiasm, curiosity and genuine will to learn. Start from there and see where it takes you.
Feel free to disagree of course. I am sharing these thoughts, believe me, in the most humble way, knowing that I, truly , still have so much to learn.
A portrait of my children every week, once a week in 2013
D. so happy on this afternoon spent at the playground with his best friend (the photo is a bit blurred but that’s all my Iphone could handle)
G.has a fascination for all kind of cleaning stuff, with a penchant for vacuum cleaners
This week I don’t have much to share in terms of thoughts. I woke up at 5 am which is enough for my mind to be momentarily blank. Still, have a lot of work to do and my days are quite full. They keep my days busy and full. And this is good. Them and all the rest, all that I don’t want to give up. This is actually a great time for me and although I feel tired most of the time, I am happy to be doing things that I love to do. Including getting ready for a group exhibition in June, more on that later.
p.s. I have a Facebook page now, come say high , if you like!
This week I loved: this portrait of Oliver +Zoe, all these three portraits, but the new born in particular melts my heart, these beautiful, curious eyes,this girl walking in the nature, Louis stunning portrait.
I really enjoy looking at these portraits, there is so much life collected here!
Have a good week!
This week summary is more a summary of favorite pinterest finds. Nevertheless I hope you enjoy it!
Have a good week end
1.a new magazine
2 this photo by photographer Jens Weber
3.cool green barbecue, perfect for summer nights!
4.home made spinach pasta, chasing delicious
5.this lovely plant potby seandasters on etsy.
7.vespa for beginners!
8.new playlist from MMHT, “Can’t take this song off my life”
9.And, the highlight of the week for me surely was yesterda’s visit at Art Basel Hong Kong