Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good findings

How strange the world is ...

I've spent this week in Budapest. I've been working, from nine in the morning to six in the evening, closed into a narrow room without a window to look outside at the clear blue sky of these first days of Spring, brainstorming with a group of Swedish and Hungarian colleagues. My ethic and professional principles forbid me to openly express what I feel about these ways of working. It's highs and lows.I would have preferred to walk outside in the streets, among the people of this town, possibly with a camera in the hands. Yet, I wouldn't be here if I hadn't to spend all that time sitting in that room. I can't help it.

It's a pity. This town has so much to be discovered that a week would not be sufficient. I would even like to have the time to meet with three of the 591 "spacers" living in town or in places not far from here. This situation leads me to open my eyes wider than usual when I'm out of office in a foreign country. It's my hunger for experience, a compulsory attitude to sample the world that I'm walking through.

In one of my lonely walks, today, while all my colleagues were diligently queuing up to get their meal at the local canteen, I stepped outside the office and reached a shopping mall not far from our premises. As I was looking for an electronic amenities shop, I spotted a large led screen over the entrance of a big store showing nice photographs. As I got closer to read the letter written aside, I realized that those pictures belonged to one of the three Spacers, Emese Altnoder. I can't describe the emotions I felt. I felt as if those pictures were talking about myself and in some extent it was. So I took a picture with my mobile: just to show it to my 591 pals.

Once out of office, back in my hotel room, I made a quick search on the web and discovered that Emese is right in these days exposing her pictures in a gallery (Harom Hétthat's less that 200 mt far from my work place. I couldn't do anything else but smile. If I only discovered it before I could have made my visit to the gallery and maybe meet Emese. It will certainly be for the next time. This working week will end tomorrow at noon, when I'll grab a taxi to the airport.


Stockholm, here I am.

I've been in Stockholm last time in April 2010, in the same days when the Icelandic vulcan erupted, stopping all flights accross this side of the world. I was so unlucky, at the time, as I managed to jump on one of the last airplanes that left from Arlanda before the airport was closed. One hour more and I would necessarily had spent a week more in the northern Venice, before getting back to Milan. My wife will certainly have a different opinion.
I can't say exactly why (though it's easy to figure out) I've been missing this town so much that I was planning a trip on my own. With some kind of luck, instead, I managed to enroll to an exhibition in Kista and, defeating all the management reluctancy coming fromthe latest cost reduction campaign that my company has waged, I got the invitation to make a presentation of the work I'm carrying on in Milan. So ... well, now I have my flights and hotel booked. I just need to put down some slides and get ready to meet some old friends there.
There are twenty days to go. I'm crossing my fingers.

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme ...

I have all the elements, now, to make my favourite song resound with colors and appetizing flavours on my balcony. :-)

Thymus Serpyllum

Four slides before uncertainty

One day the currently running 591 Spring Exhibition will finish and all the selected pictures will be archived. I'm trying to make a little dream come true by asking all the participants to grant me the rights to feature their pictures into a light free document that I'd like to edit to celebrate this event. We could consider it some kind of exhibition catalogue. If possible it should have a resolution good enough to allow a sufficiently high print quality.
I was aiming to this one year ago with last edition of the Spring Exhibition. For some reasons, lack of my time above all, everything fell in the shadow and nothing came to light. Let's see whether this year's event will be a little bit more lucky.

Before I redirect my attention to something else, I'd like to present the four slides I prepared to introduce each of the four exhibition topics. I think I've done better artworks before. Yet, these have a special meaning to me, as I hardly will make some again. My license of the most known picture editing tool is about to expire and the installation will be removed. Again I'll fall in the land of uncertainty. I tried to use a good alternative, Gimp, in the past time but it wasn't exactly the same.
I need to think about this and quickly find a solution.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

591 Spring Exhibition 2012: The Four Elements

The long wait has eventually finished.

It's been a tough task. I've never been so active on 591 blog as recently. I committed to take care of the "Earth" section, sending out invitations to all the photographers I know and getting in few weeks more than 100 answers from more than 50 people. This is not bad, provided I had to select 30 photographs from preferably thirty different people.
Now the selection task has finished. We have gathered our selections together and prepared the slideshow. Find a comfortable seat, on a sofa, on a long chair and click on the picture below: there are 120 pictures waiting to be seen. It will be a 10 minutes long break. A cup of tea could help to let you float through the large variety of interpretations that were given to each of the four topics.

I'm very happy to have contributed to this project. Next step should be a free downloadable PDF file collecting all the selected images.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Few more days to go

  Next Sunday 4 will be the last day valid for submitting picture for the 591 Spring Exhibition 2012. I've been collecting images relative to the element "Earth". Pictures are still coming into my mailbox ( I see several different opinions about this topic and interpretations. Not bad, the world is fun for this.

  In the coming weeks there will be the selection process and all the things about the organization of the exhibition. This experience has given me the chance to know many other photographers and go through their portfolios. Some of them are really impressive. In a couple of cases I have even met professional photographers which I never had heard of, before and still are prominent names in our world.

  I'm eager to see who else will submit in the next two days. In the meantime, before rolling up my sleeves, I can comfortably sit on a couch and see.

Living for work

Assuming it was really necessary, this evening, as I was travelling back home by train, I got a reminder of how constantly and irreversibly the latest years' technology has changed our way of perceiving reality and interacting with it.

  I was sitting in a compartment close to many other -let me call them- individuals, sitting on their own, casting their sight on something emitting bright light from a flat screen and apparently interacting with them. All those necks bent down. I wished for a while to have a camera with me. I could have shot as many pictures as I wanted without being noticed.
  Unfortunately, the ambient light wasn't that good to take a picture with my phone and, in some extent, the idea to use this aberration of the human voice communication tool was in contraddiction with what was passing in my head about latest technology effects on our capability to sew line-of-sight social relations.
  Then I heard the sound of a laptop PC suddenly shut and turned my sight to the woman sitting right in front of me. Looking like many of those who have a good position somewhere in the financial district of Milan downtown, she had everything a ramping up professional could show off. She pulled her smartphone out of her bag and started whispering close to the microphone, not to be heard.
  I casted my eyes back on the magazine in my hands but, few seconds later, I noticed with the corner of my eye that her face had changed. She was imploring the person on the other end, presumably a man, not to hang up, to wait for her return, to let her clarify. I coudl even understand from her lips that she was asking pardon for being so distracted by work in recent times.
  Then, as our train passed through a long tunnel, she lost the connection and started desperately calling at him again. Upon the third or fourth failing attempt she started, I'd say with some dignity and elegance, crying and looking for some shelter turning to the corner on the side and looking out of the window, as if she was feeling ashamed of her rimmel dropping down her face.
  This let me thinking about myself and how close to her situation I had been more or less one year ago. I was no longer able to distinguish work time from that I should have dedicated to my family. I happened to work more than twelve hours a day, never stopping my brain, sleeping more or less four hours per night. And my connection to my family, my kids was fainting. I was tunring to a mere cash cow, a revenue generator: nothing more. My kid were getting used to ask me what I would have taken them upon my next travel return, not when I would have been back. Luckily - I think I've written this somewhere - I had a real person, not an hyperlink, at my side that woke me up again.

  We no longer work for life. We live for working. The economical downturn we're living these years is not helping us to divert from this trend. The fear of loosing a job is pushing us to do every day more, without stopping, without unplugging ourself from the mental framework that encapsulate us for five days a week, or even more.

That is not good.