Cities can be tough to shoot even for experienced photographers and one of the things we often say about the cities that we live in is that we rarely go out photographing unless we have to. Often we have to travel far away from home to find the places for our inspiration. The irony is that these very places that are on your doorstep and often chock full of photographic opportunities. I live in the historic center of Florence, in the lesser known Sant’ Ambrogio neighborhood. An easy ten minute walk from the Duomo, Sant’ Ambrogio sits just far enough from center to filter out most tourists, yet remains close enough to be a vibrant part of the city fabric and easily accessible. Situated next to the famous Santa Croce church this is a neighborhood that revolves around the market, arguably the city’s best and most genuine, and it’s a place for local merchants, artisans and eccentric people. Just away from the mass tourism of the main center, it offers many photo opportunities. I photographed my neighborhood several times on magazine assignments and I recently began to photograph it on my own as well. I started photographing the street, the people, the workshops and I found a world of hidden corners. It is vibrant, authentic and rich on texture and I find it the perfect place to photograph if you want to be inside the real Florentine’s contemporary daily life and culture, otherwise difficult to find on one of the most touristy places on earth. Join me and see Florence with the eyes of an insider, meet the people, find places that you won’t find in any guide and live and photograph as a Florentine. I will photograph along with you as we visit an extraordinary mosaic artist workshop situated in a XIII century convent, the shoemaker, the antique shops, the leather school and workshop in the Santa Croce church’s frescoed convent, the market and its people, a former ancient prison turned into a multifunctional space, the artists working on the Cathedral’s stone restoration, and more. The loop will start from, and end to, the Sant’ Ambrogio market and the next door antique market. You won’t find tourists loading their backpacks with Italy-shaped bottles of Limoncello here. Instead you’ll find Italian mothers and grandmothers bartering with butchers and buying produce for dinner that night. Apart from the places I mentioned above, we will stop whenever we will find a photo opportunity. The Neighborhood is very dynamic and it is best to leave some extra time for improvisation.
9.00 am, Sant’ Ambrogio square
A good zoom or wide lens for street photography. A good luminous lens for shooting workshops, often in low light.