Street Photographing while in Italy

We just got back from a 2 week trip in Italy, and had a great time. There are so many things that I would like to share with you, but I need time to digest first. πŸ˜‰ So, I thought I would share 3 street photos with you in this post.

Traveling with a tour group made it hard to take street photos. I had to pay attention to where my group was. Not to mention that some streets are not easy to walk on – with steps everywhere, so I had to watch the roads, too. Also, when you travel with a group, it is difficult to look and shoot any street photo you want (my excuse). Still, I managed to take some.

Interestingly, in this trip, I came to a realization (didn’t know how I did it) that street photographing is not just catching a specific moment of someone’s (a stranger) life, but it is catching a moment of someone’s life that I feel connected to. Not sure if this makes sense to you; anyway, I do see myself change in a small way.

The first photo was taking at St. Peter’s Square. I watched this woman eating her ice cream like a little kid would do. Suddenly, one person in our group called out to our tour director, who was 10 feet away. Hearing the noise, this woman took her eyes away from the ice cream for a second or two. When she found out what was going on, she laughed and then continued enjoying her ice cream as if we were not there.

womanandIcecreams

The next photo was taking at a pizza place. The old man was sitting downstairs at the bar area by himself. Upstairs was full of people eating pizzas. When we walked by this old man, he didn’t try to make any eye contact with us, didn’t say hi. He seemed smiling and I wondered what piece of memory he was thinking of at that time.

Italianman--s

The third photo was taking at the restaurant where we had our farewell dinner. Again, the woman was alone. Her mind was in a faraway place. I took this photo 4 or 5 feet away from her and I don’t think she’d noticed. (Don’t you like how she positioned her hands?)

Italian woman2s

The first photo was taken by D750; the next two iPhone.

I’ve visited many amazing churches, many beautiful places in this trip. I don’t know how long I would remember them, but these three faces will definitely stay with me for a long while.

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About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, street photo. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Street Photographing while in Italy

  1. So glad you enjoyed your two weeks away, Helen. What’s not to love about Italy though? πŸ˜‰ Great shots you caught. Enjoyed hearing your thoughts behind why you shot each one. I think you’re absolutely right that the scene is more powerful if it speaks to you. I particularly like the last one. And how brave you have become πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sunsetdragon says:

    Oh how wonderful to travel to Italy. The lady with the ice cream seems to be totally in bliss of enjoying that cone. The gentleman sitting by himself looks to me like he is enjoying his solitude away from the others, and the wise old lady has that far away look of a wonderful memory of the past. She also has that look of wonder I see on a lot of older folks wondering where the time went.
    Wonderful photos and Ty for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks Ruth. How I wish I could speak Italian. I really wanted to talk to them πŸ˜‰ The little girl inside of me really connected to the ice cream lady. And the more-matured part of me wanted to hear stories from the other two. I bet they have a lot of stories.

      Like

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Helen, such wonderful, 2 weeks in Italy. Your photos are always great, you are so brave taking photos of people, and in another country! I hope you post more photos, I’d like to see everyone of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth. I do have more photos to share. Still trying to recover from the trip. It seems like the older I get, the longer it takes to recover from a trip ;-(
      I need to simplifies my life like you have suggested on your blog…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cee Neuner says:

    I really like your last photo Helen. Although all our candid are terrific. How do you like your new baby (camera)? Street photography or candid photography, yes it helps when you actually make a connection with someone even on a intuitive level. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Adhika says:

    I envy you, Helen! Street photography is fun, scary sometimes. Good shots though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Adhika. I still have a long way to go. You don’t know how many opportunities I have missed in this trip because I wasn’t brave enough.
      Deep down, I continue struggling with some moral issues. I know street photographing is legal. In most of my experience, people had shown some appreciation after they found out I took their photos (if they did). Still, part of me wonder if I have intruded upon someone’s privacy and if it is really a nice thing to do. But, I really love street photos… What I am trying to say is… maybe there isn’t much for you to envy πŸ˜‰

      Like

  6. Amy says:

    Welcome back, Helen. You captured the moments of their life. Great images!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo says:

    I love the old guy’s little smile to himself, Helen, but that last lady… all of life in her face and pose. πŸ™‚ Brilliant capture!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Jo. I love the old man’s little smile, too. I wish I could ask him what he was thinking. Same as the old woman. People’s mind fascinates me.

      Like

  8. Interesting. I found that the people on the street were just as fascinating, if not more so, than all the tourist attractions in Italy. When I was there last year, I snapped photos of men chatting on the street because they reminded me of my father. You can view them on my blog under the Italy section.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dalo 2013 says:

    Street shooting in Italy, sounds like a perfect place to be. Great photos and it seems that you enjoyed your trip quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Randall. It is one of the best trips we have ever had. Great tour director, excellent bus driver and wonderful people in the group. Not to mention delicious food and wine, and… πŸ˜‰

      Like

  10. loisajay says:

    Helen–welcome back! These photos are wonderful! I think these subjects you photographed would have loved to hear “you are beautiful” and given their photo. In fact, I can hear that ice cream lady laughing now, as she cuddles her photo! Such beautiful photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lignum Draco says:

    Nice shots and interesting background story. I always enjoy the true candid capture over any staged photo/expression.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lignum. I, too, enjoy the true candid capture more than staged one. But now I wonder if it is a good idea to let people know that I have taken their photo afterward so there is a chance I can give the photo to them…

      Like

  12. Mabel Kwong says:

    Wonderful street photos, Helen. I like the first one a lot, very spontaneous. Good on the woman for enjoying her ice-cream like that even with all of you watching. I still eat my ice-cream cone like that too these days…

    I like taking photos of people on the streets as well. Every person I pass, I think there’s something we can learn from them, even if it’s by just watching them for a second. Taking photos of people, I learn that we are all very similar no matter our differences – and as you said, we’re connected πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Mabel. Everything you said is so true… we are all very similar no matter our differences. I can see myself sitting there like any of these people. It’s almost like that by looking at them, I can see myself in the future πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mother Hen says:

    How wonderful! I too like the third one.. You captured it so well! Way to go Helen!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. prior says:

    welcome back Helen – πŸ™‚ and your 3 street shots here show diverse sides of Italy. well done. and actually, you caught me by a huge surprise because on my computer I was just scrolling and reading and then – bam ! the ice cream lady showed up and shocked me – in a good way. then reading about how she did care and all that – just a unique shot.

    I also really really agree with you on this

    “it is catching a moment of someone’s life that I feel connected to…”

    and I think that is why I like taking street shots in my way. Like Richard Guest (have you seen his cool work?) well he takes actual portraits – these chilling and moving photos that give a face shot – sometiems he does fully body – but his stuff is really about the face (hnece street portraits) but I realized that for me – that is not my style (and I keep learning and growing as I pursue photos of poeple) and actually that is whY i know call my photos “street shots” and not portraits.

    anyhow, the man sitting there – holy cow the scenery is Italy rich – with the meat hanging and the entire room – with him sitting to the side – at a fully set table. oh the intrigue
    and then the lady to the bottom, yes, I like the crossed hands – and the reflection in that shot whispers of more – just like you said about her “mind was in a faraway place” perhaps.

    cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Prior. I love reading your blog and your comment. You must be a great communicator!
      I googled “Richard Guest”. His blog is quite interesting! Thanks you for mentioning him. There are 3 things that I like about what Richard does: (1) he asks for permission to take photo (2) he, again, asks for permission to post on his blog (3) he tells people where to find his blog so they can see their photos there. But, I like candid photos much better and there is no way to get a true candid photo if we ask for a permission before we shoot.
      So… I am doing street shots also πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior says:

        that was really precise what you wrote about RG – and sorry I did not leave a link for his blog. I have not dropped by there in a while and I need to. And for me – I like to mix it up – not ask and take – but then I also ask (and interact) but it depends on my mood, the timing, and if there is chemistry. And I think we both are learning as we go – as well as letting our own style unfold – so I wonder where we will be in six months from now. Let’s make a deal to check in 6 months from today (well more than that as we peek in on each other’s blog) but how about if we check back in November 18th and see what else we have learned – and compare notes?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          No need to feel sorry. Google doesn’t take a long time.
          I do, too. Sometime I ask for permission; sometime I don’t. But more and more I feel like to give the photo back to them and I haven’t figured out exactly how.
          The more I think about this… the 1000 photos project (Everyone is Beautiful) I am doing now is more like street portraits. I asked people if they want a free photo (participating my Everyone is Beautiful project). If they say yes, I will take their photo and later print it and give it to them. For me, this serves a different purpose, and I enjoy doing it, too.
          Nov. 18 — deal! I am adding it on my calendar. To be sure that I won’t embarrass myself – no progress at all πŸ˜‰ I also add a reminder in Oct. ha.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. rommel says:

    So so happy that you get to visit Italy! WEEEE! I’ll be there for a week in September, but for training. Those scenes are soooo Italy. Most impressive shot of the man in the restaurant. A bit awkward to be taking people’s portrait with other people in the tour?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Rommel. Italy is a nice place. Good food, good wine, wonderful people! Be careful with your wallet though. No one in our tour group had experienced any problem, but I heard someone did lost his wallet.
      Most people in our group have never heard of street photographing. They didn’t understand why I like to take strangers’ photo, which made it hard for me. I ended up using iPhone for that purpose. It is not as obvious… πŸ˜‰

      Like

  16. treerabold says:

    I really like the last one. It’s such a classic photo. I admire your ability to do street photography. I worry about taking pictures of strangers unless I have an interaction with them and ask.
    I think it is a wonderful form of photography…I just don’t seem to have that skill. My photos of people (with or without their permission) don’t seem to have meaning. I believe my skills are in other areas. Your skills however are certainly with people….your photography is beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Tree, your comment made me think. I enjoy taking candid street photos and I like looking at them and sharing them to others. But other than that, do those candid photos have any deeper meaning? I have thought hard since I read your comment, but I still don’t know.
      I admire you a lot. You are a person who knows what makes you happy, and you know the true value of your life. That’s more than many other things.
      Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Fantastic. So nice to know about your foray into street photography – I would say very difficult and perspective based form of photography. Good Helen.

    You always have been surprising us with your love towards photography and creativity. Keep doing it and all the best πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Suyash. Curiosity is in my gene so I tend to try different things. Yes, Street photography is the one for now. And I think it will stay for a while. πŸ˜‰
      Have you heard of Wing Young Huie, a photographer in Minneapolis? I am going to take a workshop from him this coming Sat. I can’t wait.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. marjma2014 says:

    I’ve been to Venice and Rome, and I loved them both, particularly Rome, so I was interested to see your photos. You certainly manage to capture life so eloquently.

    Liked by 1 person

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