Rome might be famous for her art, wine, and history but what do you find when you peel away the shiny tourist veneer? “Rome Photo Blog” captures the essence of that other Rome, the one that’s gritty, grungy, and bursting at the edges with quirky creativity. Scroll through a collage of photos at romephotoblog.com and discover Bella Roma’s new art, from bold graffiti murals to tucked away doodles that decorate the entire city. That is, if you know where to look.
Jessica Stewart, the blog’s creator, came to Rome in July 2005, drawn by her love of Italy and art. In 2007 a project for work got her taking pictures of street artists and she hasn’t turned back since. Now Stewart has a book, Street Art Stories Roma, featuring a collection of images she’s captured over the years as well as “stories about the artists and events that occurred when shooting the images.” The book is available online and at Feltrinelli, among other bookstores.
Most recently Stewart exhibited a retrospective of her work at GarageZero in Quadraro. She still has prints from the show available for sale and will sell prints on request. Contact her at her website romephotoblog.com for more information.
We ask Jessica Stewart…
YiR: Your photos are edgy snapshots of contemporary urban living but your background is in Baroque and Renaissance art. Is there a crossover between the two?
JS: I think my love of Renaissance and Baroque is what attracted me to Italy, but once here carving out a contemporary life that any young person would want was on my mind. I think you get the best of both worlds here and I definitely think the study of classical art has influenced the lighting and composition I strive for in the photographs.
YiR: I’d imagine that taking pictures all day puts you in some interesting situations. What’s your favorite story about getting the perfect photo?
JS: Being a good photographer teaches you to be patient and to always be ready for something interesting to happen. One of my favorite examples happened recently, when after spending all day shooting a graffiti jam, the nuns (whose school let the artists paint the wall) came outside and got into the spirit by spray painting a bit themselves. As it was all unfolding you could see it was a special moment and shooting those scenes, capturing that moment makes all the hours under the sun worthwhile. There’s no better rush then feeling like you were there to capture the feeling and emotion of a special moment.
YiR: What’s your favorite neighborhood to check out street art and find the street vibe your pictures capture so well?
JS: I’m partial to Pigneto, as that’s where I live. I moved there because I love the gritty, urban vibe it has, as well as the street art scene and multicultural buzz. Going a bit south, Mandrione and Torpignattara are great as well. Really, you can find the vibe even in the historic center….you just have to keep your eyes peeled!
Are you a photographer? Send YoungInRome your pictures and have the chance to be featured in our pic of the day!