street-side braids

Based on how many times lately I’ve mentioned the joys of exploring Sicilian streets, it’s probably safe to assume that part of the trip made a big impression on me.

In the US, there’s an urban planning thing right now called “complete streets” which is defined by Smart Growth America this way:

Complete Streets are streets for everyone. Complete Streets is an approach to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining streets that enables safe access for all people who need to use them, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

I can’t argue with the premise, but the results are way less organic that what I recently saw. For example, the opportunity of getting street-side braids is NEVER listed as a thing that ought to happen. Yet, here in Palermo, a braider and an apprentice braider are busy – and they’re working right there on the street.

It was glorious.

Palermo, Sicily
photographed 8.31.2022

both sides of the street

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.

Caltabellotta, Sicily
photographed 9.5.2022

madonna of the piazzetta

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.

Caltabellotta, Sicily
photographed 9.5.2022

laundry minimalism

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.

Caltabellotta, Sicily
photographed 9.5.2022

*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.

temple minimalism

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
Agrigento, Sicily

photographed 9.2.2022

%d bloggers like this: