Monthly Archives: September 2022
This? Just a little scene I happened to notice that day we walked through Caltabellotta. I loved those narrow streets, with evidence of lives being lived at every turn. It was invigorating and interesting.
This particular scene caught my attention because the mirror reflected the other side of the street (which wasn’t all that far away) and showed how, even though I was standing in the shade, right behind me was full, intense, and direct sunlight. Plus I liked the mailbox and the streaks of paint on the walls. Plus, as you know, I fell in love with Sicily.
It is impossible to find the right words to convey how magical it was to walk the streets of these ancient towns, not really knowing where we were; new discoveries were at every turn. The light shifted. The narrow street widened into a piazza. Someone was feeding the stray cats. You could smell someone else’s lunch. Maybe there was a hint of a breeze. A motorbike went by, just inches away from walls, pedestrians. And, once, as the street turned into a piazzetta, a madonna observed all the happenings.
Over at the Valley of the Temples, I tried some minimalist shots, with mostly sky in the frame.
And then, a few days later, as we walked through the ancient mountain-top town of Caltabellotta*, I tried again, this time with laundry.
*It’s one of the oldest occupied towns in Sicily, with origins dating back 2000 years before Common Era. There’s evidence of Sicani, Greek, Arab, Norman, and Jewish heritage here.
What a place this was – the Valley of the Temples, an array of 4th and 5th century BCE temples near the modern (and also ancient) Sicilian town of Agrigento. The temples were built by ancient Greeks, but were re-purposed over the centuries by Carthaginians and Romans; it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temples play homage to the Greek gods and goddesses as well as the deities of subsequent cultures. (This site gives a good summary of the history of the ruins.)
It was breathtaking to stand among these ancient places and to think about all the people who found this particular location to be important – for sacred reasons or for strategic ones. It was hard to photograph. That much history is hard to capture through a lens, and anyway, it’s been photographed a billion times and who am I to think I could see anything any differently than what all the photographers who were there before me had already seen and photographed.
For reasons known only to my brain (and it’s not letting out any information on the matter), shooting some minimalist images of the place seemed like the thing I needed to do. And so I did.
Valley of the Temples
Summer was winding down, which meant that there were millions of tomatoes that needed something done with them if they were going to be of any use after the season had passed.
This couple, whom we met walking through their village, was going to spend the afternoon canning their tomato crop, saving the flavors of summer for winter pasta.
This is probably a good place to mention that the food we had in Sicily was so, so good. It was all fresh, all things that were in season. I tasted – and loved – things I wouldn’t have even considered prior to my visit. Octopus salad? Delicious. Mackerel on couscous with mint sauce? Delicious. Caponata (a regional favorite of eggplant, tomatoes, celery, olives)? Delicious. Pasta with pistachios? Delicious.
You get the idea.
And the thing is that if I’d been there a month later, two weeks earlier, or literally any other time that that very moment we visited, the menus would have been different, as they continually shift to include things that are fresh. I wonder what deliciousness I missed? Obviously the only way to find that out is to go back and stay for….say…a whole year. For research.