dam good

DSC_7093 copyLast week I had a delightful treat in the form of this lovely lady, Erin. A fellow Michigander and photojournalist, Erin was staying in Florence for a week and a half with her family. I love it here so so much, but I can’t express how refreshing it is to have a familiar face around.

DSC_7112 copyI met Erin through University of Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. We were taught as photojournalists to “ask for forgiveness, not permission.” So basically – investigate, take risks, use your camera as an excuse to apologize later.  We took a walk around the south side of the Arno just to catch up and hopefully find some photo-worthy adventures.

DSC_7113 copyAfter a panino at Santo Spirito and having a creepy old man take pictures of us, we reflected on the benefits of being small cute girl photographers. We walked around for a while and finally something caught our eyes! Like, how did he get down there?

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There were a bunch of people sunbathing out on a dam in the middle of the Arno. The perfect, unsuspecting subjects to capture. So OBVIOUSLY we had to figure out how to get there.
DSC_7131 copyThe point of entrance wasn’t obvious from the street so we had to peak over the wall a few times to find the best place to hop over. Climbing over a brick wall and down the side got us where we wanted to go, with only minor setbacks due to too-tight pants.

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DSC_7139 copyAnd so we were released to roam and capture an array of different folks who flocked here: the sunbathers, couples, families, kids, fishermen and other camera-wielders.

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I climbed out out and sat on the far edge of the log beneath a deer statue made of sticks and wire.  My legs dangled over the water and I took a moment to set my camera down and take in my surroundings. It’s times like this when I consciously acknowledge that I’m actually here. When I feel the weight of such an incredible opportunity, the realization of a dream setting in, it’s nearly incapacitating. I can’t even estimate how old the ground is beneath me, how many feet have walked it before me. The buildings stretched along these streets have seen so much, their presence seems to impart a type of wisdom I can’t describe. I said to Erin, “I could seriously fall into this river and die right now and be happy.” Well duh, It’s not that I want to, but it’s that I’m so content and I’ve come so far.

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DSC_7213 copyThe thing about photographers is we actually hate having our pictures taken. It’s necessary to be a little sneaky but I loved this snap of Erin. That Tuscan sun gives a special type of glow.

DSC_7216 copy These girls were taking pictures of each other in a senior portrait sort of way. I offered to take a photo of the two of them together on their camera, in exchange for one on my own.

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And then there were these guys, couldn’t have been more than 15 years old drinking beer wearing beer shirts. It doesn’t really get much better than this.

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There’s nothing more satisfying than taking a walk with no destination and discovering such interesting places. Thanks to Erin for her wonderful company and for bringing a little mid-western warmth from the mitten.

***Check out Erin’s seriously amazing photography at eakirkland.tumblr.com****

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