Rumi

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“What you seek is seeking you”

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Still Life – Italian Cantina Style

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The natural beauty I found in the Pugliese cantinas went above and beyond. And what I loved most was how almost accidental it all seemed. Hay bales set aside for additional seating, green glass bottles once used but now left as eye-candy and wooden doors showing their age but not hiding their beauty. I love the idea of using what you have at your hands already to showcase the setting. And less is always more in my opinion too.

That is the beauty of Southern Italy in a nutshell. Natural, alluring, subtle but sexy.

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I always return from Italy or even just after having spent time with my photos of my trips, thinking about the things around me. So many things and some just taking up space. Filling a space but not creating a useful energy or purpose even. I have an unusual love for de-cluttering and get into my mode of needing to be surrounded only by objects that mean something, that I adore. My own sense of still life in my surroundings that bring with them happy memories.

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Puglia, Italia

Appreciating the little moments

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I have been taking pictures for friends and friends of friends now for several years and I love it. Nothing makes me happier than meeting a family at a beautiful, natural location and taking their pictures. Some posed pictures of course, but the ones that you can’t pose are by far my favorite.

On a recent family shoot, I walked around a gorgeous outdoor setting – stone steps, a tremendous natural backdrop of trees, rose bushes and paths covered in fallen leaves. My dream location. A spot will call out to me and we’ll stop for a few minutes and I’ll snap away. Most of the time since there are children involved, we stop, take breaks and just chat. Because the majority of my clients are friends or friends of friends, there’s always something to talk about which makes the time seem all the more unique and genuine. Kids need breaks, parents need breaks and I love to talk. Win-Win.

It’s during these breaks that sometimes I can manage to still keep taking pictures and some of them come out decent. If I’m lucky, I’ll get one that I’m really happy with too. Like this one for example.

We took a break to let the little guy explore and something happened that mom and him needed a moment. I didn’t want to invade their moment, but then thought that that’s what I’m here to do. I was far enough away that hopefully the click of the camera wasn’t distracting but I got the image I wanted and adore.

So, here’s to stepping back, taking a break and letting your client having a minute without the camera in their face. But here’s also to noticing something. Something that may have been a little thing but turned out to be a great moment.

Matera

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Just over the border of Puglia, into the region of Basilicata is the town of Matera. The center of the old city, pictured above, lies on the top of a hill overlooking the valley below and has over 100 reasons for a visit. I’m going to give you just a few reasons.

The views.

From every angle in the town’s center is one breathtaking view after another. The Sassi first and foremost is a huge draw to tourists. The Sassi are the rockside dwellings in the hills pictured below. Many, many years ago the inhabitants of Matera were forced to leave town and made their new homes into these rocks.

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Gaze up into the city and your view will be an array of streets, tiny alleys and structures carved into the wall of the city. Visit on a bright sunny day like our last visit and you will definitely need your sunglasses from the blinding sun blazing off the stone buildings.

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The tiny streets.

Make your way from the bottom of the town of Matera to the top and you will come across one alley after another. Some are home to the locals, some are full of B&Bs and some boast one delicious restaurant or bar.

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The vendors.

Always helpful especially on a hot, sunny day in case you forgot your hat.

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Door art.

Yes, doors are art to me, especially in Italy. There are no two that are alike to me and each has its own special personality.

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Random art.

Statues nestled into streets create a gentle reminder to stop walking, take a rest and snap a picture.

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Although most likely placed purposefully, I love random bottles or jugs that pop into street scenes. A very common sighting when in Italy.

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Non-imposing decorative wall art is a favorite to pick out in towns too. How many just walk right by something like this and not take notice? I hope not many.

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The churches.

Like most Italian towns, Matera is home to many churches and to a cathedral, Duomo di Matera or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria della Bruna e di Sant’Eustachio. Try saying that five times fast.

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Texture

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Puglia, Italia

I was mesmerized by what I saw at the cantina. And not just by the delicious wine, although that was of course our primary reason for the visit. Rough rope coiled over a smooth glass bottle nestled in a sea of tiny pebbles. The colors are some of my most favorite – the browns in the rope, the green translucent bottle and the white, cream and grey rocks.

Taking a different vantage point, I decided to shoot down onto the scene. Up close and personal. That’s always an interesting angle for me.

I decided that this image I may turn into an enlarged canvas photo for a wine lover’s gift.