Previously, I wrote about the job I had been offered over the summer months. Well, I have begun working. As I write this, I am currently on a plane heading to leg two of the shooting, but I thought I would recap some of the adventures on leg one.
The first leg of my trip involved heading to Europe. More specifically, to two locations in Italy and one in Slovakia. The first trip would take just under two weeks.
I arrived in Bologna on a Tuesday evening and had a wonderful dinner with one of my partners in the project (and the person that offered me the commission in the first place). The next morning, it was straight to work. I spent much of the first day shooting and looking around. We were to spend a day and a half in each of the Italian locations, so while I was shooting the first day, I was also trying to plan out the second day of shooting.
The second day, we decided to change locations to the factory side of things. I found this quite interesting and ended up shooting a lot more than I had planned. We had specific numbers of images that we were hoping for, and to be quite honest, when they were initially suggested I had been somewhat skeptical that we would make the goals set out. But it turned out I shot much more than I actually needed.
On the third day, I split the day between the two locations, which was nice, because it allowed me to think about the last few things I wanted to finish up the night before. Although, towards the end of the day, I kept coming up with more shots I wanted to do. There wasn’t enough time that day to get everything done, but I knew we would have a day when we got back from Slovakia to return and finish up some of the shots.
On Saturday, I had a much needed day off, which was spent wandering around the city and eating. The food was tasty, to say the least. My partner and I had a drink in the city and lunch and dinner just outside in the country (Bologna is not all that big of a city).
Then it was off to Slovakia. We decided to drive instead of fly, which was a good choice. We went north, picking up two more people (a videographer and director) that were also involved with the project. We got to drive through the Austrian alps and Vienna, which is where I grew up, so it was sort of a homecoming for me. Schnitzel was on the menu, and to this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite foods. Coupled with a southern Austrian warm potato salad, it is absolutely heaven.
I have never been to Slovakia before, and it was an interesting experience. As it was in Chicago while I was away, it was deathly hot. The outside temperature in Slovakia topped 40C, which translates to around 104F. But that was outside. The factory I had the privilege to shoot in had no AC, so it was about ten degrees hotter inside. At one point, I was dripping sweat into my camera as I was loading film.
My only complaint is that there was not enough time for my own photographing. Slovakia (at least the area that we were in) is still filled with that communist bloc architecture that I am so fond of.
On our way back, we got to stop in Vienna, which enabled me to have a morning drink with an old friend down in the center of the city. I am still curious where I would have ended up had my family not moved back to the US, and I had finished my growing up there.
The drive back was like a 10 hour business meeting where we discussed the project and it’s evolution. When I started, the ideas surrounding it were vague to say the least, but as we continue, ideas are changing and solidifying in a way that I am extremely pleased with, as well as sparking new ideas for additional projects that could be proposed in the near future.
My last day in Bologna turned into another full day of shooting. I had not planned it, but I just had too many things that I wanted to try and get done. My trip ended with a wonderful flight home, during which my seat was upgraded. This turned out to be my most enjoyable and comfortable transatlantic flight EVER.
And so ended leg one. The travel is 1/3 done, and the shooting is half over. More is surely to come.
From 35000 feet, this is Evan Baden, signing off.