Traveling to Europe has always been my life-long dream, especially because I wanted to take a sabbatical year and discover the old continent with everything it had to offer. From majestic scenery to urban wonders on an off the beaten path, Europe is a marvel for any travel and photography buff. After finishing getting my life and schedule in order, I took my backpack and went on an initiation journey to find the beauty in the world and people.
One of the first things one needs to know about me is that I tried to improve my pictorial skills by focusing on nature photography. But urban photography and especially urban Europe has always been my dream and goal, especially because I knew there are some European old towns and urban hubs one has to see and capture on film at least once in a lifetime. So, there I went, setting as my first destination Italy, the plan being to decide my next trip on the go.
Rome is a Place Like no Other…
Italy is an urban marvel, filled with glorious ancient and modern architecture, equally fascinating small and huge cities and World Heritage sites to make you wish you’d never want to leave the country. After I recreated the steps of one of my favorite photo nomads and filled my eye, heart and hardrive with Turin’s wondrous architecture, my next stop was Rome.
For a photographer, Rome is a dream come true, as it has more than one country and one culture inside. You have the Roman Empire, the Vatican, the modern urban Rome, the Renaissance Rome and the Rome of everything art and beauty taken to superlative levels. Photographing Castel Sant’Angelo at night, taking a stroll on the narrow cobbled streets to see the locals sipping their coffees, understanding that Fontana di Trevi is not like you see it on the internet (the place is so crowded you can feel suffocated) or capturing people navigating on their Vespas is indeed an experience of a lifetime.
Every piece of marble, every building and every person here tells a story. And once you understand that Italians’ “dolce far niente” perfectly blends with the capital’s rush hours, global political and economical position and stressful daily living, you understand that Rome is more than the eye can see. As urban photography is concerned, I would recommend you go off the beaten path and try capturing people, traditions, holes in walls and street traffic, after you finish finding new angles and lights for the monuments, museums, statues, fountains and archeological wonders.
Searching for Street Art in London is the Best way to Discover the City
Urban photography in London should start with searching for street art. Of course, everyone tries to capture the famous historic, cultural, religious, entertaining and touristic landmarks, but London is more than the Tower or the Buckingham Palace. My personal journey in London included the East End, Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Whitechapel, Southbank, Brick Lane, Soho, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square.
If you want to truly understand how multi-cultural, versatile, evergreen, powerful, fascinating and rebellious London truly is, if you want to see its undying art and untamable fight for freedom, then you should try to photograph the works and murals of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Grafter, Rick Buckley, or Tim Fishlock. And if you really want to see another London as compared to travel leaflets, retrace the steps of Jack the Ripper or capture every day street life in London’s narrow alleys or industrial neighborhoods.
Continued in Urban Europe Seen Through the Camera Lens – Part 2
Guest Author Bio
After his first encounter with the visual arts, Richard Gaspari developed a passion for photography. For Richard, the camera is like the third eye, but with more ISO and with an excellent shutter speed. Now, he writes for www.creativephotoconnect.com, where he tries to “train” others into framing high resolution moments.