A slice of blue sky

by Nils Boeddingmeier (Germany)

I didn't expect to find Italy


It is 12 o’clock on a weekday. An African woman with a colorful dress lights up a sombre backstreet of Genoa. A few blocks further, an old man opens the doors of every shop he sees and shouts wild blessing in his loud, already hoarse voice. He passes an newspaper stand where a crowd of locals try to catch a glimpse on the daily headlines. A heavy policeman who almost makes his shirt button pop controls the tourists on the doorstep of an old church who seek shelter of the midday heat. So many different lives are lived in this moment in the streets of Genoa. So many fascinating photos. When I had to do an internship for my graduate school I knew immediately I wanted to go to Italy. I love this country with its gorgeous and versatile landscapes, wildly gesticulating and fast talking wonderful people and of course their incredible food. As a photographer it was always one of my favorite countries to travel to. Almost every scenery looks like a photo from a forgotten time. It’s like time traveling when you drive down the serpentines in Liguria. You pass little villages with ancient chapels, stunning views or illuminated cemeteries at night right at the brink of a cliff 200 feet above the sea surface. I always feel like in a Fellini movie and wish to be rich in the 50s, where money seemed to had more class. Driving in my little red imaginary Alfa romeo convertible down to my non existing stream lined ocean blue sailing boat, listening to Dave Brubecks Time out. So, you can tell I spend some time dreaming about Italy. This time I was primary interested in the people or to be more specific, the people of Genoa. The streets of the old part of Genoa are basically a maze. A maze with really narrow often dark alleys where the sky is always just a little slice high above you between the crooked roofs. And it’s a huge maze! The old town is one oft he biggest historical centers in all of Europe. More than once I felt lost, or like running in circles without even noticing it, like „didn’t I pass this little Plaza one hour ago?“. But that was no problem, cause I brought some time and my camera. The part that distinguishes Genoa from other cities, is that the diversity of human life is so close together. You know in every city you have an area where people go shopping clothes, some are for groceries and even others are for bars and nightlife? In Genoa everything is right around the corner. I remember a local telling me „before you turn the corner, take a sneak peek inside and decide if you want to enter“. More than once I walked through an alley with little old delis left and right until I turned right and found myself surrounded by brothels or drug dealers. But this is part of Genoas diversity. And the amount of diversity reflects on the people. Or is it the other way around, I’m not exactly sure. You can hear many languages while you pass by the Genovesi. And you see all kinds of scenes. An undertaker yelling into his phone in fast Italian right next to the open car with the coffin in it, three nuns chatting and giggling wildly, people daydreaming or a beautiful father and son scene. It is really everywhere when you start watching close. You really get endowed with this kind of moments in Genoa. I will never forget Genoa and even though there are so many places in the world to visit I think I will come back, buy myself a piece of torta di verdure and get lost again in the big dark maze under a slice of blue sky.