I thought I’d tell you the story of this image of our man in Fornovolasco, Italy. This is the first of a series of articles where I will be telling the story behind the image.

I often try to point out to people who attend our workshops, that the photographs we take don’t just happen. Rather, photographs are the result of a series of events. Sometimes that series of events is meticulously planned and often they are accidental. In this photograph of our man in Fornovolasco, they were more accidental than planned.

Fornovolasco is a picturesque village sitting at the base of the Pania della Croce mountain. The Pania della Croce is one of the mountains in the Apuane Alps region of northern Tuscany. The grandeur of this mountain towering over the small village of Fornovolasco is impressive to witness. The steeply sloped streets, its secluded location and spectacular backdrop collectively give Fornovolasco an unspoilt charm that is a joy to photograph.

During one of our mornings, after we had each spent some time wandering the steep and narrow streets capturing our unique images, we sat at the cafe to enjoy an ice-cream in the warm sunshine. At least, that was the plan! The cafe was shut! Thankfully, the seats were still outside, so we had to contend with simply enjoying the warmth of the Tuscan sun.

While sitting there, we noticed that off to our left we had a lovely view up one of the steep and narrow streets. Additionally, the street’s paving is arranged in such a way that we had a perfect leading line. We each changed our lens to a 200mm and began to compose the shot while still sitting on our lazy seats outside the closed cafe. At that very moment, an elderly Italian gentleman walked across the frame, right at the apex of the leading line. Snap! Gotcha! Not only does our man in Fornovolasco add interest to the image, he also provides scale. His presence allows us to appreciate the steepness of the street and the size of the old stone buildings.

Our Man in Fornovolasco, Italy

I converted the image to black and white and added some grain to give it an aged and weather feel. The aged and weathered look reflects both the character of Fornovolasco and the appearance of the man. Oh, and I also removed a couple of satellite dishes that defied the timeless look I felt the image deserved. I doubt very much if this would have made an interesting image without our man in Fornovolasco walking across the frame.


Although I did plan the shot by seeing the street with its leading line and changing my lens to a long 200mm, there is no doubt that the image is mostly luck. Without our man in Fornovolasco, this image would have been ok at best.