Roman Walls


It was my 50th a couple of years ago, I’m not a big party person so when my wife asked what I wanted to do to celebrate I immediately said “go to Rome, in August”. It’d be a good choice of location for a lot of people, it’s an incredible city but I had an ulterior motive, I’ve always wanted to go and photograph the walls on the buildings and apartments there, they have a unique character as a result of age, dirt, architecture and, well, workmanship!

I love the varying tones of Terracotta and other pastel hues, the faded patina created from years of weathering and the apparent abandon of painting precision. In addition to the colours there is the architecture itself with the windows, shutters and lamps that adorn the facades above the city streets.

It had to be August, at the time I had a lady working for me at the studio, she’s Italian and originates from Rome, I’d mentioned to her before about wanting to do these photos and she’d said August is the best time as that’s when most of the residents take their holidays and more importantly close their shutters – she was right.

This next photograph is my favourite from the series, it is one of the first I did and contains all the ingredients I was after. It also has an amusing story behind it, in order to get this shot I had to ask two Italian workmen who were sat in their van on the side of the road if they could move back a bit so I could get the angle I wanted, neither said a word as they moved the van with a bemused look on their faces, you see from where I’m standing immediately to my right is St Peters Square and the Vatican, and here I am asking them to move so I can take a photo of a wall!

I normally do a fair amount of research before a trip like this, working out precisely where to go and what to shoot, then taking advantage of opportune moments along the way. This time however I didn’t, the family were with me (you didn’t think I got away with that did you) and Rome is far to big and unknown to me to even begin to plan for these type of images, the only caveat to that was I knew I wanted to go to the suburb of Trastevere, I’d read it was one of the oldest parts and people hung their washing on lines between buildings, which is an iconic view and one I fancied capturing. They don’t anymore apparently, and the area is being refurbished quite a bit. I did still manage to get some there I like, here’s one with the only laundry to be seen.

I did take photographs of a couple of other subjects, and of course the usual tourist type ones that are just for me and the family, you can see the rest of this series, taken over a period of 7 days, here Roman Walls and there’s a couple of smaller series in my Collections portfolio. Rome is the most amazing city, I could spend a year there and never get bored or short of subjects to photograph, if you’ve never been I suggest you add it to your ‘bucket list’.

Here’s one last image for this blog, I noticed this alcove which I liked for the very peculiar fact that there isn’t a statue in it, if you’ve been to Rome or when you do go you’ll know what I mean! It was only when I was framing my shot that I noticed there are some red roses on the ledge, I’ve no idea why or how they were put there as it’s quite high off the ground but they make the perfect addition to the photo.

Thanks for reading, comments welcome.

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