When I see laundry hanging on drying racks and makeshift clothes lines on balconies, outside windows, across alleys and just about anywhere, I know I’m in Italy! And I simply can’t resist taking photos…
As I saunter the streets and passageways of every Italian town and village, my eye is always caught by the washing… hanging here and there, basking in the sunshine, telling their stories.
Everything from undies and overalls to dish towels and diapers, jeans and jerseys, socks and shirts…and of every size, color, and style imaginable. Some faded and well worn, some bright and brand new but all revealing a little about who lives inside; gender, size, age and even their livelihood and pastimes. All in public and subject to speculation -no secrets here!
Fluttering freely in the fresh air and seemingly without a care, everything from slacks to sheets flap gaily in the gentle breezes. Basking shamelessly in the warm sunlight, stretching out, dangling and dancing before going back in the closet or drawer, ready for the next call of duty.
I always have slightly mixed feelings about taking photos of other people’s laundry. It’s a little like peeking into someone’s closets or drawers. Sometimes I take them surreptitiously or hurriedly so as not to invade someone’s privacy but then again, the laundry is hanging out in public? And, well, I find it just too tempting.
When I travel I’m often asked how I do my laundry while on the road — well, I do it by hand of course! And I have to wonder what story someone else would write about my laundry?
So, in honor of and as a tributeto my own Mother who washed everything by hand and only with respect and praise for those whose laundry appears here… I thank you for being my muse.
– Photos from Puglia, Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Venice