Fashion Al Fresco
Street photography in a city you know has familiar patterns. In a strange city everything is fresh—exploration, luck and surprise are the recipe.
Last week that strange city was the rather unloved port city of Brindisi in the heel of Italy’s boot—the area known as Puglia. Our Italian friends were horrified—Brindisi, No! Brindisi, Why? Feigning martyrdom, we answered, Work.
Adjusting to the rhythm of Puglian life required settling down to dinner at one of the many quayside cafés and watching the evening passeggiata with a glass of primitivo. This is the kind of sacrifice we’re willing to make to capture a shot. The more wine, the more shots.
After a few hours we left the happy families catching up with each other and flirtatious teenagers conducting complicated group summits and headed back to our hotel. A perfect, if uneventful, summer’s evening.
Until we passed a narrow alley joining the two main streets.
A crowd had gathered for a fashion show complete with catwalk, spot lights, sound system, and spectators of all ages. The enotecas lining the alleys were doing a brisk trade serving antipasti and wine to waiting crowd.
As national stereotypes go, Italy and fashion go hand in hand. Street theatre doesn’t get any better than an Italian fashion show al fresco on a summer evening. The chance to see an Italian crowd dress for a fashion show: priceless. The runway fashion was fairly ho-hum. It was the crowd that held our attention; the dramas, the outfits, we’d found the place to be seen that night. The Brindisi glitterati were in full effect.
We’re not fashionistas, but if we were to report fashion trends based on the crowd’s sartorial acumen, the headlines would read:
Young Girls Love Stilettos!
Older Girls Go Wild for Animal Prints!
Fans Are Back!
The bedazzled woman on the right should know; she was the evening’s event coordinator, her steely gaze analyzing every step and turn through the cigarette haze. This doyenne received a steady flow of acolytes at her head table throughout the event. We were in the presence of Brindisi’s Anna Wintour.
The night was great, but the photography was challenging. In addition to the iPhone, we took the Ricoh GX 200 with its viewfinder. The Ricoh is now more than three years old and was bought as an all-in-one travel camera with a zoom from 24 to 72. The camera is great for shooting at ISO 100 to 200. Above ISO 400, the camera shows its age and the photos are grainy and as the ISO increases, they become often unusable.