Tag Archives: Florence

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

Italian Fountains

This is somewhat of a recap of some earlier images, but they’ve been a running theme in my Italian work so I thought I’d pull together a collection of my photos of fountains from Rome and Florence.

Fountain Detail, Palazzo Barberini
Fountain Detail, Palazzo Barberini
Fountain, Capitoline Steps, In the Wind and Rain
Fountain, Capitoline Steps, In the Wind and Rain
Cannonball Fountain
Cannonball Fountain
Triton Fountain, Piazza Barberini
Triton Fountain, Piazza Barberini
Fountain, Palazzo Pitti
Fountain, Palazzo Pitti
Facade, Villa Barberini
Facade, Villa Barberini
Figure, Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria
Figure, Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria
Fountain, Temple of Hercules
Fountain, Temple of Hercules
SPQR Fountain, Centrale Montemartini
SPQR Fountain, Centrale Montemartini
Fountainhead, Palazzo Pitti
Fountainhead, Palazzo Pitti
Pinecone Fountain,Piazza Venezia, Rome
Pinecone Fountain,Piazza Venezia, Rome
Acqua Potabile, Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome
Acqua Potabile, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome
Water Fountain, Trastevere, Rome
Papal Tiara and Keys Fountain, Vatican
Papal Tiara and Keys Fountain, Vatican
Fountain, Pantheon
Fountain, Pantheon
Fountain, Villa Borghese, Rome
Fountain, Villa Borghese, Rome
Fountain, Villa Borghese Park, Rome
Fountain, Villa Borghese Park, Rome
Fountain, Palazzo Barberini
Fountain, Palazzo Barberini
Drinking Fountain, Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Drinking Fountain, Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Drinking Fountain, Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome
Drinking Fountain, Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Cellini Fountain, Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Cellini Fountain, Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Trumpeting Merman, Fountain, Piazza Navona
Trumpeting Merman, Fountain, Piazza Navona
Horse, Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona
Horse, Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona
River God, Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona
River God, Four Rivers Fountain, Piazza Navona
Ancient Fountain, Colosseum
Ancient Fountain, Colosseum
Lion Head Fountain, San Lorenzo, Florence
Lion Head Fountain, San Lorenzo, Florence
Pinecone Fountain, Piazza Venezia
Pinecone Fountain, Piazza Venezia

The Palazzo Pitti, Revisited

Here are a few more individual photos of the Palazzo Pitti.

The first one is another version of the rear view of the Palazzo, from the Boboli Gardens. There’s a vast difference in quality between this one and the one I took with the Belair X6-12. The Belair has its charms, but I still prefer the sharpness and contrast of the Rollei version.

Fountain, Palazzo Pitti
Fountain, Palazzo Pitti

Here is the panoramic version from the Belair for direct comparison.

Pitti Palace, from the Boboli Gardens
Pitti Palace, from the Boboli Gardens

Out front of the palace there are these massive granite bollards, carved with the Medici coat of arms. While they’re kinda-sorta the equivalent of a traffic cone, they don’t really qualify for my “portraits of ordinary objects” series, do you think?

Granite Bollard, Medici Coat of Arms, Palazzo Pitti
Granite Bollard, Medici Coat of Arms, Palazzo Pitti

A marble bust of a man in a stylized Greek helmet. This would be a 16th or 17th century piece, so the ancient Greek style helmet would have been done to make him appear heroic and classical, an idealized noble warrior type.

Marble Bust, Courtyard, Palazzo Pitti
Marble Bust, Courtyard, Palazzo Pitti

Courtyard, Medici-Riccardi Palace

A view of the courtyard in the Medici-Riccardi Palace in Florence. The courtyard was designed by Michelozzo the 15th century artist and architect for Cosimo the Elder, and is the first Renaissance building in Florence. Originally there was a street-side loggia that was later filled in, and two “kneeling” windows were added according to designs by Michelangelo.

Courtyard, Medici-Riccardi Palace
Courtyard, Medici-Riccardi Palace

The statue in the courtyard is Orpheus, by the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli. This palace was the primary residence not only of Cosimo the Elder but Lorenzo Il Magnifico. When you tour the palace you can even visit one of the bedrooms although it is furnished in 17th century style.

Lion Head, Medici Coat of Arms, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence

This lion’s head and the Medici coat of arms (six gold balls) adorn the pedestal to a statue in the courtyard of the Medici-Riccardi palace in Florence. I’m very glad that day was gray and overcast or this would have been too contrasty to photograph- the left half of the pedestal would have been deep inky black and utterly devoid of detail.

Lion's Head, Medici-Riccardi Palace
Lion’s Head, Medici-Riccardi Palace

Figure, Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Sometimes I think photographers are allergic to rain – as soon as two drops come out of the sky they hide their cameras and run for cover. But there are many beautiful images to be made in foul weather.

Figure, Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria
Figure, Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria

There’s something special and different, and even a tad ironic, about photographing a fountain in the rain. The statues are wet but in a very different way than they look from the normal spray of the fountain. And I think that doing it in black and white adds something more to it- this wouldn’t be as successful an image if it were in color.