This group of photos may be the most comprehensive compilation I have ever created. Seven weeks in a foreign country will do that to you, especially when everything is exciting and unknown and every single day brings new adventure. This has been, by far, the longest time it has taken me to compile a set of photographs and over the course of the past year and a half (yes this has been quite the photo project), I have selected roughly 500 photos that encompass my travels abroad. From coastal cities to ancient ruins to beautiful picturesque countrysides to endless churches and coffee shops, this was one of the most life changing and most educating experiences - both inside and outside of the classroom. This is my story of everyday life in Italy and my perspective through this Nikon lens. Not many touristy photos but a whole lot of culture and a wide range of subjects.
To give a brief overview, I traveled to Italy in the summer of 2014 as part of the Architectural Engineering Penn State study abroad program. Roughly thirty-five students signed up to attend the trip, of which I knew ... maybe three. Not only was I moving to a new country for the next seven weeks, but I was also thrown into meeting all new PSU students as well. Fortunately for me, this group was nothing shy of a good time and from the moment we landed, it was like we had been friends all along. This program, to say the least, was not your stereotypical pass/fail, goof off study abroad program. Twelve credits in essentially six weeks is practically double the work you would complete in a normal semester and we did it without batting an eye. No computers to design a new museum, just a set of pencils, sketchbook, imagination, and a hell of a lot of time spent studying Roman history, architecture... and some motivational wine.
Er Caffettiere, Rome, Italy
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica, Rome, Italy
Aside from all of the hard work that we put in on a daily basis, we had a bit of fun as well and learned the Italian culture - more or less the food, wine, and coffee culture that is. My world was flipped upside down with the classic espresso shot and learning all of the ins and outs of the fascinating culture associated with enjoying a cup of coffee, something we too often rush through or take for granted. And while an espresso shot... or two was good for the morning, I often times found myself grabbing a caffe freddo (Italian iced coffee) in the afternoons. This by far was my favorite part of the trip, learning about the history and the culture of such a unique and special place. While we lived in Trastevere, across the river from Rome, and had class throughout Rome for six weeks, I can easily say that I saw 30% (maybe) of what this city has to offer.
This compilation is special to me because I have never been so challenged to persevere and grow in so many different areas; however, I was able to use my photography as a way to capture this journey through my time in Italy. And looking back at all of the Rome photos and the side trips I took with classmates to Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, I can not only see my photography grow and become more fluid with the new atmosphere, but I can recount myself growing in those situations as well. Overcoming cultural barriers and pulling all nighters to finish projects can be a tough situation, but my photos and the ability I had to let go and travel through this one-of-a-kind country will never be replaced.
Atop the Streets, Florence, Italy
For the first time ever, my daily attire included my Nikon strapped to my side and the challenge became which of the two lenses to select for the day. One 50mm and one 18-200mm; each offering its own dynamic to the photos I would take that day, and it really challenged me to see this brand new city in a different perspective each and every day. I took countless photos, spent countless hours walking through the windy nonsensical Roman roads, and my end goal was to produce a solid set of a couple photographs that would remind me of my time overseas. Well, I can easily say that I have surpassed a couple photographs with this compilation and what I love about this set in particular is that they are every day photos. Sure, there are a few of your typical tourist spots and buildings included, but more importantly, I tried to capture everyday life and depict the experiences I had walking aimlessly through the streets.
This is why I love photography and why I live for this hobby. It's because of these collections and what it allows me to do - traveling to new cities and exploring areas I would never have thought twice about. Please enjoy this collection and the photos in each region of Italy.
Through the Alleyways, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Comunale, Montepulciano, Italy
And More Rome...