October 29, 2011

Rome. October, 1984

Grandeur. I see it every time I visit a European capital. It’s there in the architecture, the ornamentation, the history as backdrop to modern day-to-day life. London, Paris, Istanbul, Madrid and here in Rome. Every opportunity for a flourish taken. You’ll be waiting for the bus and suddenly realize there’s an angel looking over your shoulder. In the center of Rome, for example, it’s not unusual to find a sweater store or laundry shoulder-to-shoulder with a ruined temple. The small store where you buy toothpaste sits next to the ancient Teatro di Marcello. You’ll turn an ordinary corner on the way to the post office and find yourself in a piazza flanked by buildings designed by Michelangelo. Or on a wide set of marble stairs built to a scale so grand that you wonder if you might need an invitation to be admitted. Istanbul native Cenk Sönmezsoy, who maintains the excellent Cafe Fernando blog, once told me he aspires to abandon digital photography and cultivate the beauties that only film can deliver. I thought of him and his remark when I came across this slide recently.

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