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#24 Il Mezzogiorno

Most of Italy to the south of Rome is known as “Il Mezzogiorno”, or Midday. There are various theories to the origin of the name, one being that it ties in with the position of the sun at midday, but most simply refer to the association with the relentless midday sun.  It’s a vast area, with huge variety, and endless photographic potential. Compared to areas like Tuscany, it is practically virgin territory for the non-Italian photographer, although its charms are more jagged than the lush green rolling hills further north. 

The standard photography rule of “avoid midday sun” is made only to be broken here. Here, harsh sunlight brings the winding narrow streets of ancient towns to life.  Evening light tends to conceal - and brings out the inhabitants, after the afternoon siesta. The photos in this selection were made in various parts of Puglia and Calabria at different times, but always around midday.  I suspect most photographers would have converted them to black and white, but I think that is too obvious, and inappropriate.  The flashes of colour, sometimes faded, sometimes quite the opposite, are vital. Removing them implies a bleakness which, despite the historic poverty endemic throughout the region, is not really true to life.

(click on any image to enter slideshow mode)

 

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