The Last Day of Photographing

One more day and the camera will be done working for me on this project. It is hard to believe. It seems such a short time ago I started, yet it is a life time in other respects. Carlo mentioned to Frenchy last night that I spent weeks doing nothing or making one or two images and now I am making up to eight per day. In the last few weeks I exposed about 75 rolls making some 30-35 rephotos.

Last night I went to make four night rephotos. I arranged to meet Frenchy at 8:30 in the Piazza to make the first one with just the glow from the sky. It shows the old theater with some men standing in front, some blurred some not. I wanted to get enough light to give detail and 'record' the people. It would be good to show the changes of the culture. Now, not as many men wear suits when they 'hang out'. Most of the younger men are dressed more casually than in the times gone by. But the passagatto is still a regularly practiced ritual; the Piazza full of people strolling around and talking about who knows what.

Because of the passagatto many are out and the social community here is like I have never seen. It is amazing to see it. More than any I've seen. I imagine that Central Park in New York is busy on a good day, but not in the same way, and this is a daily occurrence. It seems that more people communicate here. Of course most Italians are always talking about something. I will surely miss this as I head back to the land of shopping malls and cars.

As usual Frenchy was late. I finally met him at 9:15. I was on the phone trying to get Andrea to come and help me (a wonderful young man who in interested in photography and has been my voice for getting cultural images to rephotograph from). (I did not want to set up the camera alone at night - there are some strange creatures that climb around the city when it is dark) He said he could come and help but as we were talking I saw Frenchy and his friend Laura walk by. I went and got them and we were off to scout.

I had scheduled with Alberto to drive his fancy Mercedes to the front of the Arena del Sole and park in the same spot as an old car had posed for a portrait many years ago. Before going to meet him we went and scouted an image of the tower with a hammer and sickle illuminated on top for an election of some sort in the mid forties. It was made from the center of the busiest street in Bologna. It will have to be made it from the curb. After scouting it I realized that there was not enough time to get set up and make the image before Alberto arrived. We will do it tonight. Andrea has agreed to help (he is always on time!).

So we went to the Arena del Sole to get set up. I had plenty of time and with a few tries at getting the correct position I was ready. Alberto arrived, to my surprise, on time. and I was busy. As I was getting set up Andrea showed up as well. He was on his way out and came by to see what was going on. Then Carlo and Rosella arrived and we had a party going. Someone said it looked like a movie crew (to me it felt more like a road crew in the states working; one guy working (me) and the rest standing around talking).

Alberto's car was parked on a main street illegally. At one point the police arrived to begin the job of writing a ticket. Alberto ran over to greet them and try to stop them. As he ran across the street he asked if I had the permissio sheet from the Museum about my project. The police (3 in the car) looked me over and looked the car over and said it was OK. Then they just were standing beside the car watching. I guess they wanted to stick around and see what was going on. I resumed my shooting but the headlights of the cop car were on and shining into the scene. I asked if they could be turned off and they were. In another moment another car arrived with three more cops and they had a party going. Then another car with more two cops and the street was beginning to fill up. Carlo was impressed that I could come in and ask the cops to turn off their lights and they did! (damn foreigners!)

I made a range of photos from 10 seconds to almost 4 minutes. "When in doubt, bracket" I said. Alberto got a kick out of this being said by the "master of the craft". I did two rolls, one with the top down and the other with it up. I think the one with it up will be better. It better matches the original.

After about 45 minutes we finished and everyone left. I was wired and wanted to go and have a beer but everyone was tired and so we all went home.

Today I will process and see how they all look. I hope I did not have trouble with camera shake. As cars drove down the street I had to cover the lens to prevent streaking from the lights. I am now hoping that I did not shake the camera too much.

I wanted to make all four night rephotos last night. But we only made one. Frenchy was late so I missed the first one. The second of tower will be made tonight. The other one is of the old cafe, now a bank. It is a very prestigious building with a large round covered walkway. In the original photograph it was beautifully illuminated and now it is just a bank sign glowing from behind. At first I did not think it would be worth it, but the more I think of it, I feel it could be interesting to show how the bank killed the atmosphere of the place. I will redo it tonight.

I'm tired but feel good. It has been a little tense trying to get everything done and pack and plan the summer and all. But the work looks good. I've go plenty to work from and I feel that it will make a good show! At some point I will include some of the rephotos in this journal, just to make it complete.

It is interesting that I have no images in this entry. I am so exhausted from trying to finish the rephotos the journals have, for the first time this year, taken a back seat.