We originally planned to visit the Cinque Terra on the Italian Riviera, but at the last minute decided to see Siena instead. It also gave me an opportunity to connect in person with the organizers of the Siena International Photogography Awards (SIPA).
Last winter Luca Venturi, the creator of the contest asked me to be a juror for this year’s contest. It was quite an honor to be included on the panel with several outstanding photographers from around the world. It was an amazing experience to be part of a group who’s task was to choose the best in several categories from several thousand images. I’m still blown away by the quality of the work we had to work with.
When I told Ginevra Rugani, the orginasing secretariat, that we were coming to her town, she rolled out the red carpet. We had the most enjoyable meal of our trip with Ginerva, filmmaker Ricardo Domenichini and Luca’s son Gabriele.
All three are super passionate about their city and the upcoming festival which will be held in Siena from Friday, October 30, 2015 through Monday, November 2. They’ve done an amazing job setting up so many events and photography workshops during the festival that there’s too much to list here. So here’s a link to the events calendar: http://www.artphototravel.it/program/
It’s one thing to read about the history and culture of a region, it’s another to hear the personal perspective of someone who has made their life there. Normally as tourists we either read guidebooks or spend a few hours with a guide. I feel very fortunate to have had an opportunity to spend time and share a meal with people who live and work in the area.
They are expecting several hundred photographers from around the world for this first annual event. They made me wish that we had planned our trip for October instead of this month.
If you’re anywhere near Italy that week you really need to visit Siena for the festival. They have some really cool events planned around the city. Here’s a link to the main website for more information. http://www.sipacontest.com
They asked me to record a few comments about my experience as a judge for a promotional video that Ricardo is making for the festival. It was a complete surprise, and I didn’t realize until then how uncomfortable it is to be in front of the camera instead of behind it. I’ll be more sensitive to the concerns of my portrait subjects from now on.
I was fortunate to receive some excellent advice from Ginerva about some cool spots around town. One of my favorites is the in the Fortress. It’s the Enoteca Italiana Permanente which is the Italian wine museum which has on display every wine made in the country. And that’s a lot. But the best part is they have a tasting room where for only a few Euro you can sample some of the finest wines in the world.