I left Bari many years ago. It is my adoptive hometown, and when I return every once in a while, I enjoy walking around aimlessly, meeting old friends, the cool breeze from the sea, rediscovering situations and places that haven't really changed that much.
This time (around March 2017) I made a point of taking a camera1 on my walks and photograph what are objectively banal, everyday scenes. After many months locked away, I have looked again at these photos and found them to be true, sincere, little snapshots of Bari and I like them for what they are.
My original idea was to build a short series of interesting, meaningful vignettes of my hometown -- but the plan failed miserably.
I probably should have done a bit of planning beforehand and not just go around on foot, hopeful that serendipity would help me out like it has done several times already.
Casual shots "work" for me when I'm on holiday in some new place; i find photos just happening before me, they are satisfying from a technical standpoint, and remind me of good, unique places or situations (see Cuba for example).
When I'm in a familiar place like my hometown there is so much that I have to fight, like the boredom of looking at places that I know so well and see them with new eyes. I'd love to make other people understand why I love my hometown so much despite hating probably 90℅ of everything that's in there.
But I missed so many things: the blinding sun of early March, the squalid but somehow rich urban landscapes from the periphery of the city center, the smell and the cool breeze of the sea when I get off the plane at Palese airport, the harsh local slang, the placid queues of the immigrants near the police station, in stark contrast with the barely contained disdain that every last one of the Bari's inhabitants display towards them.
Also: the people, the flaneurs, all impossibly cool, walking with their chin up like they all own the streets, with no sense of awareness for their fundamental stupidity in posing this way because if everyone pretends to be cooler than most than who's left to be impressed?
the defining scene
All of these photos were taken with a Fuji X-Pro1 and one of the two lenses that I have, a 50mm and a 28mm-equivalent. You can read more on the camera here. I have struggled a lot on the decision of how to best render these images. I made them in color originally but decided to go mostly (not entirely) black and white, which is a bit against my instinct and also the judgement of somebody else that has a natural good taste for imagery. I have made two stacks of 10x15cm prints, one stack is color the other is black and white. I still don't know what's best. ↩