And suddenly Positano became all sleepy.
I took this image on a very cold February evening recently, on one of the few evenings when it didn't rain and the sky was painted in light blue and violet tones. This is a favorite spot of mine to enjoy the city at sunset. With this photo I was wrapping up a shoot that took me to different places around town for a travel story.
It is published in The New York Times today.
You've seen them. Glasses in saturated colors, vases in curvy shapes, oversized chandeliers that resemble deep sea animals, and fancy, multicolored jewelry and sculptures.
This is the world of Murano glass, so sought after by interior architects the world over and coming with quite a price tag, that it is often imitated elsewhere and then sold falsely under the Murano name.
I was sent on assignment for Coastal Living Magazine to this tiny island off of Venice, to spend some time on Murano and to find answers to a burning question: Is glass making there still thriving?
Visiting Massimiliano Schiavon, one of the traditional glass makers, I treated myself to a sweaty afternoon with the artists and photographed at somewhere around 45°C (115°F) temperatures near the big oven, with sweat dripping from my forehead. Tiny chunks of red-hot glass flew around me at times, as I was allowed to get as close as a photographer dreams of getting.
But let's meet Claudio, an artist glass maker who is going to walk us through the process of making a vase by hand. If you thought that the perfectly symmetrical and harmonious objects are made with some kind of positioning aids, think again. All done with their proper hands and tools only. As with all forms of art, there is a technique and practice makes perfect.
Welcome to the place of your dreams... a house in Provence, beige colors, vintage details, roses, lavender, olive trees... surrounded by a park, overlooking a serene landscape with the Alpilles in the distance, a sunset - and the golden hour to capture it.
I like to keep my eyes open for the quiet things and the details, even when traveling in busy cities such as Paris. Even in all the chaos and noise, Paris has a still majesty that is drenched in soft hues. On every corner and in between, there is a little story told, in its now way, its own words, its own style. And it sits there either to be discovered or be passed by...
This softness and these stories are why most of us are able to blank out the clamor and find pleasure in either the small cheerful things or the heavy grandeur that seems too big to grasp anyhow.
So walk slowly.
And take a deep breath.
Let's take a walk!
You can choose to stroll through a colorful, loud, bustling city, where the heat can make you hide inside from the afternoon sun for hours eating sweets and drinking a café cortado or two.
Or you might feel like heading to the 4km long sandy city beach to enjoy a cava while letting the wind dry the sweat on your skin.
Either way, you'll end up eating tapas sooner or later and hearing your voice ask for another cervesa. And more tapas.
Because, well, isn't that why you'd come here in the first place?
For all the art lovers who read my blog occasionally, I want to share these recent images of a brief moment at Art Basel. On assignment for The Wall Street Journal that day, I got to watch an enthusiastic and interested crowd look at art: some of it spectacular and some of it wondrous, hanging on the walls and off them, sitting on the floors and suspended in the air, some of it big, some of it small and some of the pieces moving on screens while others were beaming and glowing. Altogether something for everybody. And all the while, outside of those exhibition halls, in the city of Basel, life was taking its course, as usual……...
You can view The Wall Street Journal's slideshow with more images here.
What better time to post images of the Amalfi coast than today, when it's still winter, but we're already making our plans for spring and summer travels.
Though very touristy in the summer and fall, this coast is standing its ground and hasn't lost its magnetism. It's definitely to be enjoyed from the water perspective, the boat rides are fun and relaxing. The views from the hills offer a colorful sight as far as the eye can see. And the long beaches invite you to warm your feet and get your tan..
Happy holiday dreaming!
I have photographed the capital of the Czech Republic a hundred times over - starting in 1989 - but having the chance to show travel magazine readers my take on Prague is special.
Because of my Czech roots I've been able to observe the city's remarkable change during the past 24 years. So it was exciting for me to shoot there for Russian Condé Nast Traveller's November issue, which is currently on sale in Russia.
I spent the day with Veronika Dzhioeva, who is a Russian opera singer and a celebrity at home and now lives in Prague. What a gorgeous, fun, and outgoing woman! Ilya, the journalist, wasn't just my assistant for the day, but also Veronika's, carrying her red outfit-filled trolley down the bumpy cobbled streets while blissfully smoking cigarette after cigarette.
Needless to say we had a beer and solid Czech food, for which I really must recommend Lokál where they serve food the way your average Czech mom and grandma cook - with only the freshest high-quality ingredients! Unlike 10 years ago you can eat delicious food in Prague nowadays - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
As for courtesy, Grand Café Orient carried the day. A genuinely friendly staff and a tasty Sacher dort, which the Russians actually call the Торт Прага - Prague cake! The Café's interior alone is worth a glimpse: it's cubist, a style we very rarely see anywhere anymore.
Time is always short for reportages like this, when we rush through a city trying to stuff three days into one. And yet, we still always manage to catch our 7:30 pm flights back home. Whew!
.... the Positano moon on this recent evening along the Amalfi Coast...
... is the name of this spot in the gorgeous Val d'Orcia in Southern Tuscany. The piazza of this tiny village does not offer much space for café chairs - it is, in fact, not a piazza at all, but a thermal bath! The healing water surfaces at 51°C, creating wonderful steam early in the mornings... Just like it did on this morning one year ago today, moments before I got engaged...
... est belle même en plein hiver...