Your Story of Rome – May 22 to May 26, 2011
Rome is a city with a story, or rather with millennia of stories, and through photography, we will concentrate on learning to tell a story of Rome – your story of Rome – with images.
It’s a city that sees hundreds of thousands of tourists a year who make millions of photographs of some of the most famous sites in the world. The grand and amazing fountains, the Baroque churches, the riotous markets, the bridges over the Tiber, the beautiful Roman people… everything falls under the stare of the camera.
Our goal is to figure out how to make our own images and how to take those images and create a story that gives us our own sense of what it is that Rome means to each of us.
In the field, we’ll spend time trying to find unique ways of seeing iconic sights as well as finding subject matter that is well off the beaten track. Back at the hotel, we will edit your take, working on shot selection, sequence and series to help you tell your own story of Rome. We will work with digital photographic equipment for its remarkable speed of feedback and response, combining daily photographic experiences with real-time editing and critiquing of images.
Before we depart Rome, you will have produced a group of your own images designed to tell a story that is yours and yours alone; your response to one of the greatest cities in the world.
We’ll be based in the centro storico, the historical center. Our accommodations at the Albergo Cesári are ideally located between the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain; it’s a “walk to” location for so many sites (including Giolitti, one of Rome’s premier gelaterie) you’ll want to photograph. The hotel also has a great rooftop terrace where you can relax in the evening.
Because we will work with digital photographic equipment, we’ll be counting on its rapid feedback and we will be able to critique our images individually and via digital projection as a group. I will work with you as you edit your downloaded images to help you develop your story. Because the group will be shooting together and editing together, you will learn a lot from your fellow students as well.
I have limited this experience to a maximum of 7 photographers in order to ensure the best level of personal instructional attention. This is an intermediate-level photographic experience; you should have at least three years experience making photographs, have a basic understanding of photographic processes and technology and should be comfortable using a digital SLR camera in manual mode. Non-photographer companions are welcome and warmly invited to attend.
Day 0 Sunday, May 22
Arrive and check in at our hotel, the 3-star Albergo Cesári, ideally located in the centro storico, within walking distance to many important sites (one ofthose being Jeff’s favorite gelateria, Giolitti). In the early evening, we will meet for a beverage on the hotel’s rooftop terrace as we discuss the three upcoming days. If you’d like, have a glass of wine before dinner as we get to know one another. While we relax and enjoy the evening, Jeff will cover some of the basic ideas and concepts for our time together, looking at the issues of framing and composition, but most importantly, conceptualizing the sort of photographs you’ll make. As you begin to explore Rome, start to think about what interests you. Is it the antiquity? The people? The way the culture embraces food? What about the amazing mix of religious and secular architecture? Take this time to being thinking about how the photographs you make will tell the story you have in your head. We’ll also talk a bit about the editing process we’ll use and give you a bit of assistance in taming the number of images that you’ll need to consider for your story of Rome.
We’ll enjoy dinner at Ristorante alle Due Colonne, a restaurant with typically wonderful Roman cooking and just a short walk from the hotel.
Day 1 Monday, May 23
“Chi dorme non piglia pesci,” (translation: “Those who sleep don’t catch any fish.”)
We’ll meet at 6:30 and get some glimpses of city as it comes alive, which will provide a terrific kickoff to your story. Our walk will take us past the Pantheon, the magnificent ancient temple dating from 125 A.D., and Largo Argentina, where Caesar met his assassins, Brutus and Company. We’ll then take a little detour to visit the colorful Campo di Fiori market, and cross the Ponte Sisto, the elegant Renaissance bridge leading to Trastevere. The area of Trastevere is ideal for a walk through narrow streets, squares and colors that still maintain an authentically Roman character and offers a pleasant contrast with the solemn splendor seen at the Vatican and the Baroque riots in other places throughout the city. In antiquity Trastevere – “beyond the Tiber” – was the first district established on the right bank of the Tiber and was inhabited by artisans, fishermen, merchants and communities of foreigners, connected with the activities of the nearby port.
Sites that should not be missed include the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, with the 13th century mosaics by Pietro Cavallini, and of Santa Cecilia, with the touching statue of Cecilia herself, patron saint of music, by Stefano Maderno. To find the magnificence of the Renaissance even in Trastevere, the ideal place is the Villa Farnesina, the suburban villa of wealthy banker Agostino Chigi, containing frescoes by Raphael, Baldassarre Peruzzi and Sebastiano del Piombo.
We’ll enjoy dinner at Pizzeria Montecarlo. A casual place located near Piazza Navona, it offers great pizza and great wines in a fun, noisy atmosphere. A favorite of locals and tourists alike; in fact, Romans voted it as their favorite pizzeria in 2008 and 2009. Montecarlo is a special little place full of Roman spirit, poetry and theatre.
Day 2 Tuesday, May 24
We’ll start off today by walking to the heart of ancient Rome with an expert guide, following the Via Fora Imperiale, until we reach our destinations, the
Coliseum and Roman Forum, where we will enter with reserved admission at 8:30 a.m., the earliest admission allowed. In addition to these areas, your entry allows you into the Palatine Hill area as well. In this zone, there are so many others areas to explore. To name just a few:
- Baths of Caracalla, an enormous bathing complex, very well preserved, with many mosaics still partially intact.
- Imperial Fora, which contain the Forum of Caesar, Forum of Trajan, among others.
- Trajan’s Market, thought to be the first shopping mall
- Capitoline Hill designed by Michelangelo, from whose balcony one can view the Roman Forum
- Santa Maria in Cosmedin, containing the Boca della Veritá and important medieval art
- Santa Maria in Campitelli designed in the late Baroque style
- San Giovanni in Laterano, one of the major basilicas of Rome and considered to be the Pope’s parish church
- Santa Maria Maggiore, another of the five major basilicas, which has a wonderful Byzantine interior.
We’ll escape the heat of midday and spend time working on editing the images you’ve made thus far. Jeff will work individually with you, helping you edit, sort and group your images to begin to create your story. (2:00-6:00)
Enjoy dinner on your own tonight, which will allow you to have more free time to photograph at this time of day and into the evening, or just soak in Rome’s atmosphere. We’ll be sure to provide you with a list of some of our favorite places to either grab a quick bite or enjoy a longer, leisurely experience.
Day 3 Wednesday, May 25
Feel free to get up and photograph as early as you’d like. At 8:30, we’ll meet at one of Rome’s most famous bars for breakfast, either Tazza d’Oro or Caffé St Eustachio, to have an authentic Roman morning meal experience, which typically consists of a quick stop for a shot or two of caffé (espresso) and a cornetto. Today we’re heading to the centro storico, the historic center. We plan to be at the Pantheon at opening time: 8:30 a.m. Other highlights in this area include
- Piazza Navona, also referred to as Diocletian’s Stadium, used for all sorts of contests in ancient times;
- Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza by Borromini, one of the most architecturally unique churches in the city;
- Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the only Gothic church in Rome. It contains (most of) the remains of St. Catherine of Siena and its exterior is grace by one of Bernini’s most famous works.
- Sant’Ignazio and Piazza Sant’Ignazio, the base of the Jesuits and the Counter-Reformation
- Via Giulia, home to many lovely antique shops, exclusive apartments, and a graceful archway draped with vines, designed by Michelangelo.
- Campo dei Fiori, the lively fruit and vegetable market during the day
- Palazzo Farnese, designed by Michelangelo and now the French Embassy
We’ll spend the afternoon preparing a final edit of our work, culling out the best of the best images in an effort to tell your story of Rome.
Dinner at Il Buco Ristorante Toscano, one of Jeff’s favorite places in all of Italy, to celebrate your stories of Rome.