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Author Topic: The ghost village of Toiano  (Read 3765 times)
marcocarmassi
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« on: February 07, 2011, 09:49:41 AM »
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Hi everybody!
Last week, I visited a very peculiar place, Toiano, not so far from my native town. It's a ghost medieval village where the last inhabitant lived around 50 years ago.

So now it's possible to take shots in a unusual silence and walk in the main street surrounded by abandoned old farmhouses.

Here's the direct link to the gallery on my website.

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francois
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 10:03:04 AM »
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Marco,
Lovely images indeed and the winter season is perfect to convey the feeling of abandonment.
This is a great set, congratulations.
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Francois
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 10:48:06 AM »
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Marco, Good shooting. You're doing one of my all time favorite things: chasing ghosts. But I'd be willing to bet that the color balance inside the church was more like this:
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 02:41:36 PM »
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...wringing of wrists, sobbing swells, incense lingers o'er the destitute, defenseless and bruised...my God how the heart pounds in the dizzying clamor of this place...invisible eternities whistling unconstrained!!! Absolutely love this and thank you for taking us to this location...is there more? Must see what I can see of Toiano...wow...I feel storms let loose...

I just realized that the tempest let loose was in response to Russ' excellent WB edit....really got the blood running for me, that being said Marco's original capture took us there in the first place...thanks to both of you...(I'm in for some wild dreams tonight...)
edit:
Aha!... my Italian is not strong, but the gist of the place is here..   http://www.lineatoscana.it/toiano-borgo-palaia-pisa.html
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 02:55:58 PM by Patricia Sheley » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 07:57:01 PM »
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Marco, I really like both of these, and I also prefer your color balance over Russ's. Russ's may be more "accurate", but it also made the shot mundane. Your color balance infused the scene with an ethereal glow and took it to another level. Photographic art doesn't need to confine itself to mere reportage, and while I tend to prefer accuracy, sometimes a scene calls for a little creative interpretation. I think in this case your sightly surreal color balance works. I don't think it did in some of the work you posted here previously, but for me it succeeds very well with this shot. Good work!

I like the tree, too
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 12:21:38 AM by popnfresh » Logged
marcocarmassi
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 04:16:21 AM »
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Thanks everybody for comments and critiques.
@RSL: I understand your point of view but comparing your modified photo and the original, there are some hues in the modified one not corresponding to reality; for instance, the altar is made of dazzling white marble (not yellow as in your pic), the same for the marble frame above the altar. The painting has subtle hues of red and orange (gone in your pic) that I tried to pull out. Your version has a yellow dominant not present in the actual scene. Usually, I enhance colors and hues (when i feel it could be good for the shot) but never change anything, especially colors.

@Patricia Wow, what a comment! Thanks a lot! Hope your dream were wild on a positive side  Smiley If you like the subject and wanna see more pics, you can visit the "Ghost town" gallery on my website

@popnfresh I'm glad that this time you appreciate the use of colors i did in this shot. I totally agree with your considerations about photographic art, going beyond an actual representation is exactly what i'm trying to reach.
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 04:48:51 AM »
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Marco -very nice set, and I prefer the b/whites.

A couple of comments: don't you feel spooked working in these places? I would find it very difficult to stay there for more than five minutes on my own; with company it would be okay, but not alone. The problem is the mind - I think it would go into overdrive and I'm not sure I'd like that too much. How come no real estate developer has bought the lot and made a new fortune on top of the old fortune? This is the very time to buy - lowest prices and desperate craftsmen.

There's an old abandoned factory of some kind on the outskirts of my town - it would be great for pictures, but I simply can't make myself go into it. If I hadn't seen the Blair Witch Project perhaps it would be accessible, but the fear of dropping down through some rotted timbers or trapdoor into a processing well and being screened from mobile 'phone contact with any rescue is too much. The place was once used, many years ago, by a fashion team doing a shoot for a British catalogue company. They painted some old walls with ochre and stuff like that, and it worked, but that was a team...

Maybe Patricia will understand that there are some things you can face whilst there is the choice, but others are just too heavy to contemplate. This factory and your village are two such!

Rob C
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marcocarmassi
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 05:11:20 AM »
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Marco -very nice set, and I prefer the b/whites.

A couple of comments: don't you feel spooked working in these places? I would find it very difficult to stay there for more than five minutes on my own; with company it would be okay, but not alone. The problem is the mind - I think it would go into overdrive and I'm not sure I'd like that too much. How come no real estate developer has bought the lot and made a new fortune on top of the old fortune? This is the very time to buy - lowest prices and desperate craftsmen.

There's an old abandoned factory of some kind on the outskirts of my town - it would be great for pictures, but I simply can't make myself go into it. If I hadn't seen the Blair Witch Project perhaps it would be accessible, but the fear of dropping down through some rotted timbers or trapdoor into a processing well and being screened from mobile 'phone contact with any rescue is too much. The place was once used, many years ago, by a fashion team doing a shoot for a British catalogue company. They painted some old walls with ochre and stuff like that, and it worked, but that was a team...

Maybe Patricia will understand that there are some things you can face whilst there is the choice, but others are just too heavy to contemplate. This factory and your village are two such!

Rob C

First of all, we were two (me taking pics and the other guy keeping ghosts away Wink ) and it was full daylight (I'd never go there alone in the night, like in BWP). Then, you're right, the place is kinda creepy but when you turn your eyes to the peaceful valley, the feeling changes and the mind gets serene again. My advice is to gather some friends, overcome your "bafflements" and take a trip to that factory (in the daylight, of course), I'm pretty sure you'll be back with good shots. Abandoned places usually are worthing some effort.
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 06:29:35 AM »
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I just want to mention the B&W shot of the tree again, because I think it's also quite good. The tree itself is an interesting shape in a beautiful setting and bathed in a remarkable quality of light which you captured perfectly. I'd happily put it on my wall.
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 09:27:05 AM »
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http://pisa.guidatoscana.it/en/provincia-pisa/cmsx.asp?IDPg=850           ( re: the murder of the beautiful Elvira ) 
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 09:29:27 AM »
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Marco,

This is a stunning set of photos, and a fantastic place to photograph. When I saw your portfolio, I started kicking myself because a few years ago I spent six weeks in Tuscany, a lot of it very near Toiano, but I never knew the place existed.

Thanks for sharing.

Eric
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francois
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 10:07:14 AM »
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When I saw your portfolio, I started kicking myself because a few years ago I spent six weeks in Tuscany, a lot of it very near Toiano, but I never knew the place existed.
Eric,
It's time to return!
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Francois
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 11:14:29 AM »
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I vote someone grabs Rob C and we all meet in Toiano for some evening and nocturnal shooting sometime this summer...if we find a let I'll do the cooking as long as someone keeps my glass topped...
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 01:05:54 PM »
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I vote someone grabs Rob C and we all meet in Toiano for some evening and nocturnal shooting sometime this summer...if we find a let I'll do the cooking as long as someone keeps my glass topped...



But Patricia, then who is going to do the photography?

Actually, it would be a nice idea to do something like that - certainly a change from eating in the same couple of bars every day of the week and finding it a big buzz when somebody changes the menu!

Rob C
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 01:23:40 PM »
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Rob, extraordinarily good food only takes moments when you source your ingredients locally...and did you see the glorious olives under which to spread a blanket to catch a snooze and rejuvenate for more time with the camera...evening hours are long, morning hours are long and would fly by all too quickly I think exploring the corners of this place...but still there must be good drink to keep the mind unhooked from our demands to allow the power of place to open new eyes....

This could be a very pleasurable photographic adventure with friends of open mind and spirit...

I note the huge funds people spend to go off to Antarctica and such, but something about this place makes me feel you could settle in and let it take hold with the offer of wonderful creative possibility...not a post card op...
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:28:39 PM by Patricia Sheley » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 01:51:24 PM »
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http://pisa.guidatoscana.it/en/provincia-pisa/cmsx.asp?IDPg=850           ( re: the murder of the beautiful Elvira )  




Nobody can hear you scream in Toiano.

But you don't need shadows and night to get spooked. It can happen to you in brilliant sunshine the first time you walk into a house. Late friends of mine sold a very nice house here shortly after they built a huge pool for it, and bought another property on the side of a valley on the way to the sea. It was a very expensive place and consisted of two separate houses with a pool between the two buildings, just what you might imagine to be the perfect place for a retired couple with visiting adult families... my wife and I both got very bad vibes the first moment we stepped into the grounds to visit. It turned out that one of the couple's daughters felt exactly the same way on her first visit, too.

The owners never had much luck after they moved in: bad health and terminal illnesses. After the death of the second part of the couple I ended up doing the selling shots for the estate agent's brochure and that was a very weird feeling indeed. I was never so glad to get away from a place. Other than my first studio: it was in a very old listed building and I had the top floor except for the attic which was used by the owners of the building as a depository for their old business files. The attic was reached by an internal staircase which had solid sides and a heavy curtain at the base, which was in my studio's entance hallway. I hated having to work into the night there; I actually had my neck bristle every time I had to walk near the damn staircase, which was every night I was there because it was right next to the darkroom, the only reason for the late hours.

There are many things that you come across in life that defy rational explanation; the older I get the more I realise how little I know about what life really is all about. I was much more certain in my thirties. Especially about that staircase.

Rob C
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 02:25:42 PM by Rob C » Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 01:55:02 PM »
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Ooh, Pat! That is so tempting.

Having been there (Tuscany, but not, alas, Toiano) in the spring, when the vineyards were just being planted for the season, I would now like to make my next visit in the fall. I was newly into digital photography on the last visit, and looking back over my shots from that trip now, I can see that I could do a much better job (photographically) the next time around.

As for food and wine, we did just fine last time, and could do even better the next time. Ah coniglio! Cinghiale! Truffle shavings on homemade pasta! All with a nice bottle of the house red!

And, Rob: Tuscany is so beautiful that there will be plenty of time to photograph during the five-minute breaks between meals.

And yes: I've now located Toiano on my map.

Eric

P.S. We can let Elvira do some of the cooking so Pat can have time to photograph, too.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:56:45 PM by Eric Myrvaagnes » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 02:14:45 PM »
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Rob, extraordinarily good food only takes moments when you source your ingredients locally...and did you see the glorious olives under which to spread a blanket to catch a snooze and rejuvenate for more time with the camera...evening hours are long, morning hours are long and would fly by all too quickly I think exploring the corners of this place...but still there must be good drink to keep the mind unhooked from our demands to allow the power of place to open new eyes....

This could be a very pleasurable photographic adventure with friends of open mind and spirit...

I note the huge funds people spend to go off to Antarctica and such, but something about this place makes me feel you could settle in and let it take hold with the offer of wonderful creative possibility...not a post card op...


And now you are into Omar Khayym!

And you are also into perfect conditions. After two heart adventures and two stents, the limits of my intake are defined by a total ban on animal fat which removes from sight such delights as cream, wonderful cheeses (oooh that belle France!), pizzas of which my wife was a magical maker from basics, quiche - and imposes a maximum liquid intake of one glass of red wine a day and an official coffee. I cheat on the coffee.

All this with a guy who was never fat, smoked his last cigarette forty-four years ago (to add insult to injury, the cardios here still insist on describing me as an ex-smoker!). Its hill puts Toiano out of reach for a start: I can walk a couple of hours at a stretch and quite rapidly at that, and feel no ill effects nor particularly tired, but it has to be on the flat!

As is sometimes noted, youth is wasted on the young. And as Fred would probably agree: si jeunesse savait et vieillesse pouvait! Which about wraps up my available French.

Depressed? Moi?

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 02:22:22 PM »
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But having said all that, I have no problem stretching out on a blanket as long as the ants, vipers and wolf spiders keep their distance. I can also enjoy that single glass as much as others the half-bottle (been there too often and know) and the more I think about it all - at least ten minutes now - the more I would feel inclined to sign on the dotted. It would make for an interesting drive across the south of France... yes, very appealing indeed! But I think I'd take the old car.

Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2011, 06:32:07 PM »
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@RSL: I understand your point of view but comparing your modified photo and the original, there are some hues in the modified one not corresponding to reality; for instance, the altar is made of dazzling white marble (not yellow as in your pic), the same for the marble frame above the altar. The painting has subtle hues of red and orange (gone in your pic) that I tried to pull out. Your version has a yellow dominant not present in the actual scene. Usually, I enhance colors and hues (when i feel it could be good for the shot) but never change anything, especially colors.

The floor of the church actually was that blue? If the altar's too yellow after the one-touch color correction, a bit of desaturation with Viveza can correct it. Since I wasn't there, I don't know what the original colors were, but I can guess that the floor's not right -- at least as a representation of reality. On the other hand, as some have pointed out, in the end color balances are up to the photographer. Which is one reason B&W often is superior to color.

That's a great collection of pictures on your web, Marco, except where you've over-dramatized the sky. I hope you plan to go back for more.
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