Through Their Eyes: Sivan Askayo
While preparing this post I realised that ‘Old Europe’ is somewhat under-represented here on Skip Town, but it’s certainly not on purpose. Sometimes I think it’s because this kind of beauty can be too obvious; the picture-perfect streets and spires, when photographed, can easily lurch into generic ‘postcard’ territory – oh the horror!
So today it’s nice to feature a series of unabashedly ‘lovely’ photographs of Florence. Sivan Askayo, a photo journalist based in New York, has clearly fallen for the city’s charms and created a portrait of Florence as most of us would imagine it to be – grand, faded and romantic.
I was one week in Paris at the end of March, working on an editorial assignment for a design and lifestyle magazine. I was writing and shooting an article about the design scene in Paris, including some of my favorite places and shops in this city. Once the assignment was finished, I traveled to Tel Aviv for almost a month; It was partially a holiday visiting friends and family and partially work, shooting materials for future articles.
There are so many. I’m trying to have at least one profound experience in every place I travel. I find the great experiences in the little things; running up the hills of Florence early in the morning and watching the city from Piazzale Michaelangelo; walking in Gracia Neighborhood in Barcelona and finding a great laundry shot for my ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’ collection; tasting some great food in a small local market in Sapa, Vietnam; or having some early morning shots in Paris.
I prefer traveling light but it also depends on destination; if I travel to a place where I can rent gear, than I sometimes prefer doing so, but if I travel to places such as East Asia than I’m taking my gear with me. Which is quite light anyway; DSLR Nikon D90 and 4 different lenses; 50mm/1.4, 35mm/1.8, 35-70mm/2.8 and 18-105mm/3.5. I also carry 2 external hard drives; one for work and one for back up. I try to avoid packing my tripod, to be honest, and if I can borrow one from a colleague I would gladly do so.
I never plan. I find planning quite as a limitation of your thoughts. Even if I plan something or have an idea, I always find it different on location. So better wait and see what happens in front of me. It never fails.
I work with Lightroom and I play a little bit with contrast, blacks and colors. I try to give every destination a different ‘feeling’. The Florence series came out very much like a painting and I think it matches the feel and the essence of this city. It also very depends on the mood I’m in and what I experience from the place. I just got back from Tel Aviv and noticed the retro/vintage atmosphere in the streets, the stores and some products so I’ve decided to edit my photos of Tel Aviv in a vintage look and feel.
I always download my photos to the hard drive at the end of the day or every two days. I like to keep the memory cards ‘clean and fresh’ as much as possible for the next day. Yes, I do use some of my images to my portfolio. I pick few and then debating which ones will fit the portfolio. I haven’t landed any commercial work yet! but I’m planning on doing so quite soon.
That’s a tough question; I would love to go to Cuba, Brazil, Shanghai. I’m getting a lot of emails from people around the world who have seen my project ’Intimacy under the Wires’ and they keep telling me I should visit this and this place and have some great laundry shots. I’m very tempted to go to India and Napoli for that, but also need to find a different angle than the expected images.