Tomorrow is March 15. Beware the Ides of March.
Yes, tomorrow will be the 2,051st anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome. (Well, it would be if we were still using the Julian calendar – so let’s pretend.) Now, the Romans of yore were known for doing things that today many people would likely not look upon favorably. You know, things like despotism, invading and enslaving other lands, crucifixion, Bob Guccione’s film “Caligula,” gladiatorial games, throwing people to the lions, etc.
However, they did do some worthwhile things. One of them: they sure knew how to build. To commemorate the glory that was Roman architecture, I’m posting photos that I made in 1990 of the interior (above) and exterior (left) of the Pantheon in Rome – the finest Roman building to survive from those ancient times. It’s a magnificent place, crowned on top by a beautiful dome seen here with the Oculus (“eye”) in the middle to let in air and light. (And rain, too. I’ve always wondered how long it takes to mop the place up after a downpour.) As you can see, it also makes for a great lightpath.
For those not interested in Roman buildings, I’m presenting the photo on the right to commemorate the glory that is Italian women. (A different type of architecture, so to speak?) After all, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Gina Lollobrigida are just as much a part of Italian culture as any old building – and let’s not forget Laura Antonelli!
This particular photo was made at a workshop in Tuscany in 1998. I even think it has a kind of ancient Roman feel to it, perhaps because of the fabric and the formal pose. You might think that the fabric was carefully placed into position, but it wasn’t. I had planned to do so, but first I casually tossed it into the air and it just happened to land the way you’re seeing it now! It was absolutely perfect and didn’t need to be moved at all. (By the way, that same piece of fabric is in one of my closets now and accompanies me on most photo shoots to this day.)
The photo looks like it was made in a studio with this lighting, but it wasn’t, either. The location was an old farmhouse somewhere in the Tuscan countryside, and what’s illuminating her is pure 100% late day Tuscan sunlight. I can’t imagine being able to do any better in a studio – or anyplace else, for that matter!