On the photography course we took on the Amalfi Coast with the Road Scholars, our instructor Alfio was always encouraging us to “tell the story” with our photos.
To him, a photo of the coastal towns of Positano or Amalfi was not really a good photo unless it included the iconic symbol of each town – which was, for him, the Cathedral. “Find the place where describe the space,” became my very favourite Alfio-ism.
Well, that and one other. Alfio was showing us some of his own photos from his portfolio, and included among them were some nice shots of Sicily, which is where he lives. Alfio showed us several photos of the countryside, some of the commercial work he had done, and finally one that appeared to be the night scene in a harbour, apparently taken from the bow of a ferry or ship.
“I was living with sheep,” he told us. Puzzled silence, while we all pondered whether he had embraced a hermit lifestyle in order to commune with nature a little better. And then the flash bulb went off.
“Ah, he was leaving with the ship!” I said. I give those students full credit – not one of them so much as batted an eyelash, and all of them nodded gravely.
While on our field trip in Sorrento, I came across a very old open-air building that was decorated with beautiful frescoes to look like architectural details, and here the retired gentlemen of the city meet each afternoon to play cards – a game called “Neapolitan.” I gained permission to take some photos, and soon after Alfio and some of our other students joined in. Here are my attempts to tell the story in photos, starting with the “finding the place where describe the space.”