Trieste is an Italian port with a colorful history. When I traveled there for a second time, I was asked repeatedly whether I had been to the city before. When I replied that it was already my second visit, people where nodding at me with understanding. But not everyone that asked me thought that it was matter of course. Who would actually make a point and visit this city, some of them asked me. It’s true that Trieste seems to be a little off the beaten track, at least it’s at the very periphery of Italy. And Venice, which is only 150 kilometers away, draws all the attention to itself. I actually made the short trip from Venice to visit Trieste when I came here for the first time.
Why did I want to visit Trieste? I had got to know the city through Raffaele Cavicchi’s photos, for example (www.instagram.com/ralfmalf), whom I actually met when I went there on my first visit. Raffaele gave me a private city tour. It was a slightly chilly day in March. I took a photo of him crossing the street for me. If you are familiar with my photos, you will recognize this motif – a person moving through urban space. I create depth by way of lines.
This motif still appears in my photos today. On my latest trip to Trieste I also took such a photo; however, it was in another part of the city.
On this one, you can see a woman with her dogs. The movement, mobility and dynamics of the urban life are still important to me. My second visit to Trieste took place in the middle of summer, which is also reflected in the photos themselves: There are a lot more people out and about than in March. Pop concerts are held at the central Unity of Italy Square. And I am invited to an international fashion contest with guests from all over the world. This is very different to my first visit, when it seemed that only a few Austrian and German tourist were visiting the city. Now there were a lot of visitors, for example from Asia.
The thing I find particular fascinating about Trieste is its geographical location: right at the sea in a picturesque bay. Then there is the political aspect, because depending on your viewpoint, the city is right at the outer edge (if your reference point is Italy) or relatively central (if you are looking at Europe). I find this tension is something I can relate to from my own hometown: Although there are many differences to Görlitz, a city in Germany on the border to Poland, both cities have in common that their location is between periphery and center, between Eastern and Western Europe. Trieste was once the most important port in Austria-Hungary. The city’s significant history is visible in many areas. And you can sense a longing for distant places.
The people of Trieste say that there are a lot of older people in the city. On my first visit I met two old gentlemen who were fishing in the harbor. To be honest, I had already forgotten about them. I only remembered them when I was picking out photos for this blog post. My memories of the walk with Raffaele were much more vivid. So when I went and revisited Trieste a short time ago, I could remember individual places and streets quite accurately.
I often wonder how taking photos during my travels changes my viewpoint. How would I see the cities if I didn’t photograph them? Sometimes people ask me if I am still able to enjoy a trip seeing as I am constantly taking photos. I am not the only one who is asked this question and it is not really new, either. It has, however, gained significance, since now millions of people are taking photos with their smart phones, sharing these photos on social networks and by doing so, are mapping the world photographically. For me, traveling with the camera means looking at things in a particular way. I look closely – or at least I try to. In order to take a photo, I stop occasionally, go on detours, or just wander around aimlessly for a bit. Maybe this is the way I experience the world.
I had a small feeling of déjà-vu during my second visit in Trieste: When I stepped out of the hotel onto the street on the first morning, I remembered a trip to Italy fifteen years ago, which I undertook at almost the same time of year. At that time my travels took me to Sicily. But I think it must have been the same light that impressed me. At noon, it is mercilessly bright and totally unsuitable for photos, I find. In the evening, the light is soft and gentle.
Jörg lives in Berlin and has been taking photos since he was 12. These days he has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram.