Photo Journal: An Italian family tradition – tomato sauce making day

img_7188

My father’s parents are salt-of-the-earth people. They are humble, kind, generous almost to a fault, and incredibly self-reliant, even as they grow older. Each year, my father’s parents pay tribute to the generations that came before them and honor their (my; our) Italian heritage by bringing in a truckload of tomatoes, and making and bottling their own tomato pasta sauce. It’s an age-old tradition still followed by many Italians, all over the world; even when we immigrate to new lands, we don’t leave our traditions behind. They make hundreds of bottles from thousands of tomatoes, with the help of my dad and auntie, and often a few friends and other relatives. They work under the eagle eyes of my grandparents, and while everyone has a good time, the sense of duty and respect is palpable.

 

Recording memories, through blogging, photographing and journaling, has always been incredibly important to me, and as my grandfather closes in on 90 years old, the realization that this beautiful tradition won’t go on forever under his watchful eye has really hit home. I initially took my camera along this year, with the intent of capturing as many wonderful memories as I could, both for myself and the generations of my family to come. Then, I realized a far greater thing would be to share these precious memories with others.

img_7195

img_7197

img_7200

img_7206

img_7212

img_7245

img_7249

img_7253

img_7260

img_7261

 

Inside the hospital of Alcatraz

I can’t tell you why, but there’s something fascinating to me about abandoned old hospitals. The decaying abandoned furniture and equipment, the cliched but naturally haunting lighting, imagining the stories of the patients who went through there. For these reasons, I loved the movie Sucker Punch, and am an enormous fan of the work of Seph Lawless, who captures a lot of these degenerate settings so beautifully.

I’d love nothing more than to spend days exploring some of these abandoned buildings with my camera, but they’re not easy to get into. One of the greatest opportunities I’ve been afforded was to see inside the hospital of Alcatraz (which was closed back in 1934) when I visited in 2014. It was opened to the public for a few months after Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was invited to turn the rooms of the hospital into an art gallery, displaying his art examining human rights and free expression. You can read a little more about that exhibition here, but here are some of the photos I was able to take when I visited…

IMG_5969

IMG_5971

IMG_5970

Photo Journal: Nonna’s chocolate roll cake

My family is Italian, which means two things – the food is delicious, and recipes are rarely written down. They’re just remembered, somehow. One of the recipes I really wanted to learn to bake myself and ensure was recorded was my great grandmother’s chocolate roll cake. It’s my dad’s favourite, and he has some really fond memories around this cake. I was really excited when my auntie (dad’s sister) offered to show me the ropes and take me through the whole procedure.

IMG_0535

 

IMG_0558

IMG_0583

IMG_0588

IMG_0591

IMG_0612

IMG_0627