We were in Rome for the weekend, a city as beautiful as Paris but without the air of pristine-boulevard smugness. The Eternal City is a bit grimy, and all the better for it. It’s a city for living in – care of the fabric of the place comes second to the serious business of being Italian. And Romans love being Italian. That bit of graffiti removal can wait until after dinner.
In St Peter’s square I spotted this stylish gent with a Rolleiflex TLR. I assumed he was a visitor, but then I noticed there were four elderly men equipped with these vintage cameras – they were commercial photographers taking pictures of tourists on film for 6 euros a throw. This guy was very proud of his Rollei – “Made in Germany!” – and seemed a bit baffled by my DSLR – it’s just conceivable that the so-called digital revolution has completely passed him by. I hope so. Film use today often has a post-modern element to it, so It’s good to know that there are four old blokes in Italy who still make an irony-free living shooting tourists on antique cameras.
>Nice one TIW, and agreed – but there needs to be an irony-free way of shooting photographers (in China, at least!!)On a working trip to Hong Kong, I took a swift day excursion into China. At the first stop over, beneath a giant Buddha, a young girl appeared from nowhere and snapped a couple of shots of me with her Can-Nik-Oly-Pana-Sung 12 zillion digi thing….Two stops later (about 90 minutes) I was taken to one side and offered a T-Shirt, mug, soup bowl, plate, banner….all with my fizzog ready printed on! A simple photo was a somewhat lower option. The thought of having dinner and, as the level of noodles lowers, having my face appear at the bottom of a bowl, is not good!
>Mrs TIW and I spent a month travelling through China a couple of years back – in Beijing I lost count of the times that I was asked to join a group photo by tiny Chinese families visiting the capital. I presume I was roped in as curious western prop. I can imagine Mr Chan getting out his holiday snaps when back at the Long March People’s Collective Farm and saying to his mates “Look at THIS guy we saw on holiday! He’s MASSIVE!”
>I feel the same way about Rome – it’s beautiful yet completely without snobbery, something uncommon in other ‘western’ European cities. Love it :)