One of the greatest benefits to photographing weddings in Italy is that, well, you’re in Italy. There is no better setting for a bride and groom that I’v ever experienced (more on that later). However, what Italy is all about for Elena and I is inspiration. And that inspiration comes from the culture and the landscape that this heaven on earth provides for not just a photographer, but for anyone who has been blessed to visit. So early mornings, before the girls get out of their concrete bed (the hardest mattresses on the planet are here) I take some time for some exploration with my camera. Street shooting, for me, is my most difficult challenge as an artist. No control at all. And the little time I had to shoot made it especially challenging. If I’m not back with a cappuccino before Elena starts her day, I’ll be noutare con i pesci. Look it up. It’s not pretty. Putting yourself in uncomfortable places creatively does a remarkable job in honing your senses to your surroundings and painstakingly disallows me to be the control freak that I am. To ease that discomfort, I had to make a portrait of Elena’s beautiful Zia Francesca. Zia is the word for Aunt in Italian. The portrait represents a very strong but incredibly loving Italian woman who has suffered her share of loss. The two photographs in the background are her late husband and son. Both died way too young. The two empty chairs were theirs.