April 21, 2011

Rome. October, 1984

Jumping pictures. Inspired by the whimsical leaps photographed by Philippe Halsman, ours started in earnest when I visited Italy with my friend Dali in 1980 and she said, “Stand over there and jump after I count to three.” When I expressed doubt, she explained, “Would you rather have a picture of the Coliseum or a picture of yourself mid-air in front of the Coliseum?” I took her point and from then on, well, frequent visitors to this site will see that “the jumping picture” quickly became standard. Here’s one from a later Italian trip, in front of Rome’s main film studio. Dali, Patti and I took the metropolitana to the Cinecittà stop and emerged from the underground station into a neighborhood with sound stages on one side, grazing sheep on the other. Rome. We were refused admission at the main gate, so we walked around the corner, found a huge entrance completely open and unguarded, and walked right in. Recently laundered cardinals’ robes from some picture lay drying on the sunny grass. Vincent Price (who starred in many pictures filmed here) had told us that the cafeteria was good, so we had a coffee and watched extras walk by dressed as gladiators, World War II soldiers, 19th-century courtesans. Didn’t see Fellini, from whose film credits we’d first become enchanted by the name Cinecittà: Movie City.

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