“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
Milano, one of the big four fashion cities and well worth a visit with camera in hand. Milan is a street photographers dream, with all the hustle and bustle to keep you clicking all day and night.
The city has a vibrancy and warmth that make you feel at home with a camera, the locals accept cameras as part of their everyday life. As we know as a street photographer, you can easily become prey to the anti-camera brigade and confrontational hunter. Not here though, just keep grabbing a respite in the many coffee houses that sell the most delicious kicks and then kick on.
Of course, this is not just a place of historical beauty dating back to the Romans, it is a race of beauty and style well worth swimming in if you want to boost your confidence with up-close photography. I tend to use only prime lenses so I am the zoom that needs to move. I do not like to mess around with zooms, they take time to set and find the optimum focal length, more often than not I would forget anyway. On this trip, I had my Fuji X-100S with 23 mm in-built prime lens and the Fuji X-T10 with Fuji 35mm prime lens. To be honest, I like the thrill of the composition chase too, moving in, out and shaking it all about. I basically do the Hoki- Koki and turn around, that’s what it’s all about! Indeed a British cultural and interactive song we are brought up on through school, getting us ready for just such events.
Milano is an easy place to get around, with trams and tubes dropping you off at every corner. It is always easier with a guide of course. I was lucky enough to be taken around the city to key areas by my good friend and conceptual artist Batsceba Hardy. I say lucky because once I start walking and clicking, I have no idea where I am. I either need to radio out my coordinates and get a rescue helicopter coming in or have someone prod me in the right direction, gratefully I had the cheaper latter. It was also wonderful to have a fellow artist to compare styles with and be inspired by.
There are so many key locations and sights of beauty around Milano that you really need about five days to get around and give the one city the appreciation it deserves.
It was once the stomping ground of Leonardo da Vinci, so really is a treasure trove of art and architecture to drool at, or at least photograph the droolers. Napoleon also stomped through Milan, leaving his French footprints here and there in an ill-fated attempt to form the Kingdom of Italy. Roman gates leading to basilicas, The last Supper, Arco Della Pace to Duomo Cathedral. Make sure you have plenty of batteries and storage.
I travel light and take the bare essentials to see me through a day of photography. One little gem I always carry though is the Manfrotto Pixi Evo tripod. An outstanding design from Manfrotto. Not to be confused with its sister the standard Pixi. The Pixi is a basic version of the evolutionary Evo.
The Evo is light but with extendable legs and height settings that keep it well grounded on uneven surfaces. It has a built-in swivel head that will hold a weighty compact system camera in portrait or landscape position. The camera is easily attached via a thumb wheel and 1/4 threaded mount. Wonderful for those low down shots where you want to capture motion, yet retain the clarity of the surroundings. The Pixi is cheaper but a lot more limited. Definitely worth paying the little extra for a tool that will stay in your bag.
Overall, the city is just a warm, beautiful city to visit. A street photographer dream!
Stylish Foot traffic indeed. All images were taken in RAW and processed to black and white or colour, depending on the mood, or my mood, which is really what it boils down to. Flights to Milan and accommodation can be found very cheaply for the budget traveller. Get yourself off, the best latte in the world is waiting.