Awhile back I toured San Francisco's Legion of Honor with a friend who is fixated on faces. With his typical gusto, we dashed from painting to painting staring at the faces, then sharing ideas about subjects' features and airs, how the painter accomplished conveying each unique person's spirit - their attitude, their underlying needs, the viewpoints about whom they were watching, and what that implied about their status in life. So much depth is conveyed in a face.
Our conversations surface for me often, and when I took my Fuji X-Pro 1 to Italy last year, I found myself responding more keenly than ever to bursts of mood and passion, gleams of vulnerability, and masks of hauteur or scorn.
I paused for just a few minutes in the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, and saw this incredible woman and her dog. It was after work, and people were strolling the cobbled streets of the quartiere Monti, a place where, according to Susan Spano writing in the New York Times in 2011, "a knife sharpener still makes monthly rounds even as young entrepreneurs are opening artsy bookstore-cafes, vintage clothing shops, organic markets and galleries." In this little plaza, where people were commuting home on bicycles, conferring over tourist maps, or walking their dogs, you could carry out a drink from the bar and sip it by the lazy fountain, thus enjoying one of Rome's distinct pleasures, dolce far niente (or pleasant idleness).