Florene, my beloved Florence – A city that leaves no room for disappointments in terms of art.
I hold on the memories of the hours spent sitting in Piazzale Michelangelo, the long walks through the historic centre, the magical sunsets at Lung’Arno and soaking in all the people coming and going, the diverse sounds, artist and street vendors.
It is very easy to fall in love with Florence, just let yourself be hugged by the rhythm of this magnificent city.
Florence played always a big part in my life while I was living in Italy, and, relocated in Australia, I had the chance to come back to Florence as a “foreigner” to create art by myself. Like a child, who’s parents would take it for the first time to Luna Park, I stood in front of the “Palazzo Spine Feroni” (also renamed Palazzo Ferragamo), which is located at the beginning of Via de’Tornabuini, the most famous street in Florence for luxury shops.
Standing in front of the museum windows, watching my reflection motionless, I wondered how this could have happened. Everything went so quickly, that I had no chance to realise what was going to happen; after all I just received the request back in Melbourne only a week before the actual date of the interview, changing on this request, to take photos for Wish, my flight to an earlier departure. And like a hundreds of times experienced on the starting grid of a cycling race, I felt that fear and that feeling of not being able to give everything, of not being up to the task. Was my outfit right? How can you be well “enough” dressed, when you are going to walk across the threshold of a world’s fashion icon and entering a historic building, bought by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1938 and in which the family has lived and worked since until today?
I took my trolley, entered this palace of art and was welcomed by the so called manager, to accompany me to the private areas of the building. I followed the staff member and thought “Let’s hope the room for the shooting is bright enough and has good angle to take advantage of the window light…” I would have only 30 minutes of time to photograph James Ferragamo and had only one camera and two lenses with me (often I carry deliberately not too much equipment with me, especially when I want to focus on a very specific portrait I have in my mind).
After we arrived at the top level of the building, the manager surprised me with a very kind tone: “This floor is for your shooting available, please advise me which room you prefer to use in regards to light and furniture and when everything is set up I will call Mr. James Ferragamo for the photos.” Within a few minutes I checked the available rooms, all full of frescoes and paintings of unspeakable beauty! It was hard to decide, but I took a breath, asked for a glass of water and finally chose a room.
The room was just perfect! The light came from majestic windows, illuminating the room right in the corner where I wanted to shoot. A few minutes later, Jonathan, the Australian journalist, entered the room with Mr. James Ferragamo. They started the interview and I used this time to take some candid test photos. After they finished their interview, it was my turn to capture the required photos for the magazine. Within only 15 minutes I turned my ideas into the files I needed, finishing our time with Mr Ferragamo in a brief conservation about cycling, kite surfing and the beauty of Tuscany. The following day I did send the photos to WISH and knowing, that everyone was happy, left finally some space for euphoria. It was great to be considered by The Australian newspaper to be the right person for this job in Italy and was much appreciated.
For those who want, this is the Link of the monthly WISH (The Australian Newspaper), where you can read the whole interview from Jonathan Lobban and view the photos.