Around Firenze I wander eager to seek out new places in a city that’s become familiar. Following the winding streets north I discover a park and in its centre a carousel. The park is deserted but the lights of the carousel are on, its glowing like a jar of fireflies amongst the dark trees, now bare after their remaining leaves lost their defiant stand against the winter wind. The carousel, behind its glass walls, echoes the specimens in the Specola, in a state of suspended death floating in formaldehyde.

Preservation is a notion that has run through my photographs; exploring what has been preserved and what has been left to natural decay. The restoration work in Firenze is perpetual, over the last few months I’ve seen paintings disappear and reappear on the walls of the Uffizi as they are shuttled away into darkened rooms to under go repainting and primping.

The preservation work on the old buildings is continuous, scaffolding inches around the Duomo’s walls constantly cleaning in what seems a herculean task. The resulting timeless nature of these buildings has a bit of a strange effect on me.

I sit on a bench in the middle of Piazza Santa Croce but instead of having a de Chirico-esk moment of joyful epiphany, I muse upon my own insignificant lifespan, acknowledging the probability that the building in front of me will remain of centuries, despite how many floods Mother Nature throws at it.

Perhaps this is where my affection for the decaying, the forgotten and the thrown away stems from. Getting a perverse sense of pleasure from outlasting something in the city of monuments to the past.

written 10th December 2010

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