Posted by: passedportsnyc | August 6, 2009

Photo-Free Roma

I hardly took any pictures in Rome. Everyone around me was snapping every ancient column a hundred times over. It felt almost like I was betraying my tourist status at times. The photos that I did take tended to be of pigeons, funny little cars I’d never seen before, interesting shadows, and the like. None of the Coliseum, the Vatican Museums, or the Spanish Steps. (I did take a picture of some ruins at the Roma Forum, but only as the backdrop to a photo of a modern art sculpture. I will upload the photos that I did take as soon as I reach a computer with the appropriate technology.)

One of several history text books I own has a picture of the Coliseum on the cover. Nearly all of the European and world history books I have contain reproductions of the works of Raphael and Michaelangelo. Not to mention that the postcards sold at every street corner and kiosk in Rome captured all of the “important” art and architecture far better than I could have. So taking my own just didn’t seem worthwhile.

I love photographing, and have often gotten caught up in photographing every site from dozens of different angles, but as it turns out, those photos rarely make for interesting or engaging photo albums. Unfortunately I am not talented enough to be the exception to this rule.

On the one hand I felt that keeping the camera tucked away allowed me to be more present, focusing on what I was seeing and learning. (e.g. St. Peter’s is not the world’s largest basillica, it is the second largest; the largest is located in the Ivory Coast. Who knew?) On the other hand, I hope I haven’t done myself a disservice by failing to adequately document my experiences. Hopefully blogging along with meticulous journaling will be sufficient to fill in the gaps of the photos I missed. If not, I can always buy the coffee table book.



  1. Ahhh, and this will be just the beginning of the photo ethic conversations. At least for me, whether i should take a photo or not was one of the biggest quandries. Was i ruining the moment? Saving it? Exploiting it (or in many cases, them). I’m looking through my photos now as i’ve just gotten home and i have to say that although its never the same as actually being there, its really nice to have them to look back at.

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