I’m a lover of reportage, or documentary photography.
“Life Goes on in Italy, doesn’t it?” I recently thought while having my morning coffee in the city center. The entirety of the scene playing out around me felt significant. The juxtaposition of daily life, moving on, with death reminding us that it is ever present, especially after almost two years of Covid, commanded me to grab my iPhone and chronicle the scene.
I don’t pretend to be anything like the greats of reportage photography. Masters like Dorthea Lange and Henri Cartier-Bresson come to mind. To have that kind of eye and reflexes on such a steady basis commands my respect and awe. For my own efforts, capturing my take of “Life Goes on in Italy” is a small and infrequent accomplishment!
“Documentary photography usually refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle events or environments both significant and relevant to history and historical events as well as everyday life. It is typically covered in professional photojournalism or real-life reportage, but it may also be an amateur, artistic, or academic pursuit.”
Normally I’m drawn to simplicity and an image with a clear focus.
If I’d had my expensive camera, I probably would’ve been tempted to capture this image differently. In this instance, having the iPhone was a blessing. I had to start shooting in the default mode which is wide-angle and a detailed depth of field, capturing the many layers of scenes in front of me.
In Italy, Life Goes On
I zoom back in my memory to the beginning of the pandemic and how you wouldn’t even see a funeral gathering like this. If you did, there would be almost no one around outside of a small group of mourners. If the church was in the city center, the shops and streets around would be pretty much deserted. Today is different. Italy does seem to be showing that it is turning the corner, enabling regular life to start picking up steam. In this image, the juxtaposition of different “mini” stories fascinates me: the people queueing at the shop for fresh pasta, the people having morning coffee while checking their smartphones or readying a newspaper, shoppers with bags in hand walking at a brisk pack, the funeral gathering at the Duomo.
Italy seems to be gaining steam on reaching critical mass on vaccination status.
“Over 65 percent of the Italian population is now fully vaccinated, according to the latest government figures, making some 35.2 million people over 12 years old.”
—thelocal.it (read the full story here)
Maybe this is why it seems that life goes on in Italy and why optimism seems to be on the rise. As the above article says, the government finds these numbers “comforting.” Still, I’m afraid we’re a long way off from masks disappearing and from funerals being an infrequent sighting.
Then and now.
As life goes on in Italy these days I’ve taken a moment to reflect back on one of my blog posts, a small photo essay, from very early in the pandemic, when we were pretty much prisoners of our homes and the streets were virtually deserted. I’d encourage you to take a look at the post, called Scenes of Solitude Amidst Italy’s Coronavirus Crisis