by Melinda Gallo

Expressing my love for Florence

Everyone expresses love differently. I express my love for Florence through my writing and photography. Each photo I take is a moment in which I held my beloved city in my embrace and she held me. One of my greatest joys is basking in the beauty I experience and capturing it as best I can and then sharing it. Love doesnít want to be hidden or kept secret. Love wants to be expressed, shared, and celebrated.

Living in Florence :: Expressing my love for Florence

When I first started taking photos of Florence, I did so only for myself. It was a natural reaction for all the love and joy I was feeling. I wanted to hold onto Florence and engrave that emotional and visual memory in my heart.

My love for Florence is like that of a child who loves a butterfly. She tries to catch it just to give it a kiss, admire it, profess her love to it, and then let it fly away.

In sharing my love of Florence, I have received many unexpected gifts, like the comments people share and the appreciation they show. All of this attention on my pictures of Florence was unexpected because I am a writer, not a photographer. I have great joy in taking photos of what touches me. Iíd like to believe that what people tap into is the emotions I experience when Iím taking the photo. Instagram has been a blessing for me because Iím able to share Florence with so many people. Itís so gratifying to take a photo of what inspires me and publish it in just a couple of minutes.

Much of what I write about Florence is also inspired. Often when Iím walking through the streets, across the piazzas, along the Arno, and inside the gardens, I get inspired to write something about Florence. I pull out a notebook and let the words flow. When I return home, I type them up and edit them. If I let too much time go by before publishing the piece, doubts enter and my conviction to publish it lessens. Itís almost as if the impulse for the piece dies and I canít revive it. Right now, I have at least 20 pieces I wrote about Florence on my computer that are just waiting for me to breathe life back into them. Sometimes it happens, only if that inspiration hits me again, but sometimes it doesnít.

Publishing photos on Instagram is so gratifying for my creative side. I get to experience the creative cycle of inspiration, realization, and publication. For any artist, it is the optimum experience. Iím constantly working on mastering that fluidity in my writing; however, the realization segment has its own rhythm. Writing requires a trust of the process without a promise for completion. However, I know that if the inspiration for a piece (like this one) is strong enough, the cycle can be completed without a hitch.

When I take a photo, I donít debate whether or not I will publish it. My emotions just propel me forward. My heart and mind are in full agreement: they love the photo and want to share it. Every photo reminds me that my heart and mind work best together. I am grateful for the joy I feel when I express my love of Florence with others. For me, itís the final segment of publishing that brings me joy and any comments or appreciation I receive is a bonus. The gift of sharing love is receiving it back in unexpected ways.

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