Red Granite Bollard, Palazzo Barberini

Ordinary Objects, Italian Edition

As you may well know if you’ve followed my blog for some length of time, I like taking portraits of ordinary objects- things we see in daily life and ignore and/or take for granted, like pay phones, water fountains, traffic cones, and trash cans. I’ve photographed them in Paris, Toronto, New York, Washington DC and now Rome and Florence. They all have a common denominator of their base functionality. I think though that the Italian ones seem to have just a bit more flair and style to them – take a look and see what you think.

This fire hose connector is probably the newest thing I’ve photographed in this series – the copper connecting pipe has only just begun to oxidize!

Fire Hose Connector
Fire Hose Connector

In contrast, this trash can in Florence with cigarette butt receptacle is quite well-used, but still has style.

Quadrifoglio Trash Can, Florence
Quadrifoglio Trash Can, Florence

… as does this Roman bin across from the Capitoline hill.

Trashcan in the rain, Rome
Trashcan in the rain, Rome

The poor mailbox in Trastevere has been graffiti’d and stickered and it still soldiers on.

Mailbox, Trastevere, Rome
Mailbox, Trastevere, Rome

Don’t you wish all payphones were this glamorous (and as easy to find)? Here in DC when I went to find a payphone to photograph, it took me several days of looking before I ran into one. I saw this one on my first day in Florence.

Payphone, Florence
Payphone, Florence

I’ll include this because it has a very utilitarian purpose – it’s a street lamp. Granted, a 15th century street lamp attached to a palace, but a street lamp nonetheless.

Torch Holder, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
Torch Holder, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

A public drinking fountain. These were ubiquitous across Rome, in very much the same form, some in better and some in worse condition. But they worked, and the water was sweet and clean, always flowing, and free.

Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome
Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome

A lowly door handle – this one in particular is attached to a palace, but there were plenty to be found of similar quality on middle-class residences in both Rome and Florence.

Door Handle, Boboli Gardens
Door Handle, Boboli Gardens

And last but not least, a traffic cone. Well, in this case, a red granite bollard some four feet high and three-ish in diameter, in the entrance courtyard to the Palazzo Barberini.

Red Granite Bollard, Palazzo Barberini
Red Granite Bollard, Palazzo Barberini

3 thoughts on “Ordinary Objects, Italian Edition”

    1. Well, I suppose some of them are a bit extraordinary, even for Italy, but they are, in the Italian context, ordinary objects – a bollard is still a bollard, until we make it into sculpture as well as a bollard. But for all its sculpturalness it never loses its functionality, and vice versa.

      1. These sorts of things will become historical artefacts at some point. I find the fact that you isolate them and take photos of them very interesting. The photos will become more and more interesting as time goes on.

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