Josh's Photo Blog

November 12, 2009

Italy

Filed under: travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 12:18 am

One nice thing about being in France is that you get to take breaks when the French do… which is quite often! Barely a month and a half into the semester, I got a week off from school and went to Italy with a big bunch of friends. It was quite the adventure – we did 4 cities in 7 days (down from 10), half of us got sick and I broke a lens somewhere between Florence and Venice (above) – a $500 repair!

We were in airports a lot, thanks to airport strikes and weird connections screwing us over.

This is the Sistine Chapel. You aren’t supposed to take pictures in it. Good luck stopping people, though..

The Vatican City (above 3 photos) had some amazing collections of Catholic-inspired art and architecture. As the world shifts towards secularism, the lowest common denominator and what is most profitable, we might never again see an era where people would be motivated to build such monuments to a higher power

Not much to see in Pisa beyond the tower that bears its name, though it is quite funny to see people trying to get their picture with it.

Florence (above) is quite nice. It’s one of those large cities that succeeds in having a rustic, small-town feel. Like many of the other places we went to, it was quite easy to get around on foot as most of the major sights are clustered together in the city center

There’s a LOT of art in this city, particularly Christian art. It’s quite overwhelming, but I actually found some of the art to be surprisingly inspiring.

Many of the churches we went to charged admission, with the result being that most of the people in them show their adoration and veneration with a camera rather than with prayer

Gondolas abound in Venice (there are about 400 licensed gondoliers), and they reminded me of my time spent on USC’s Dragonboat team.

Venice away from the canals is a maze of pathways and alleys, amazingly easy to get lost in. Wandering through these alleys alone and away from the rampant tourism in Italy was probably the most peaceful I felt the whole trip.

The parts of Italy I saw were beautiful, but I wish I had more time to get to know the place on a deeper level. My overall impression of it was a country rich in culture and tradition, but with a hugely commercial, touristy side that got in the way of its beauty.

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April 8, 2009

Birkat Hachama in LA

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 9:23 pm

“Birkat Hachama?! What the hell is that??”

That’s what I told my photojournalist friend Ed, based out of Israel, when he told me about this Jewish holiday that was going to happen, like, tomorrow. Undaunted by the fact that it was 10:30 PM the night before and there was basically no information to be found on it online, I made a bunch of phone calls and figured out that it was going to be celebrated at Griffith Park, the tallest mountaintop in LA. I called my other buddy Nathan, the Daily Trojan’s photo editor, and we both got set to wake up early and shoot this.

Birkat Hachama, the sun blessing, is one of many Jewish holidays that are celebrated all around the world. The reason you might not have heard of it, though, is that it takes place once every 28 years, when the sun reaches the end of its solar cycle and is at the same position that it was at when Yahweh created the world.


Nathan and I were out the gate by 5:30 AM the next day. After getting lost for a bit in the massiveness that is Griffith Park, we managed to find the worshippers still at the Observatory.


After that, we headed on over to Hollywood, where a massive street party was taking place to celebrate the holiday.

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