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fare bella figura

By bliba  
An older well-groomed man with the newspaper he has just bought.
Dressing elegantly, showing off, that's almost obligatory in Italy.

Italians have a passion for beauty. Houses are judged by their entrances, politicians by their smiles, table lamps and cars by their design, and only in Italy is there a verb like "fare bella figura". People have internalised the expression so deeply that many find it difficult to explain what exactly it means.

Literally, it can be translated as "cut a fine figure", figuratively as "make a good entrance". It is about pride, attractiveness and appearance, but also about bravado, manners, etiquette, social status, reputation, desire and illusion. Some say fare bella figura is a central metaphor for Italian life.

thanks for looking


Bologna /August 2021

Tags: Street photography Photo journalism Monochrome Italy Light and shadow Bologna Bnw photography Dressing elegantly

Voters: smut01, dark_lord, Ericsamson and 61 more

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20 Sep 2021 4:57PM
Great shot Oliver, love the composition and the shadows are perfect!
mac Plus
20 13 Scotland
20 Sep 2021 5:47PM
I like how it all goes against the rules of composition, "do not position the main figure at the edge of the frame." However, in this case, it looks all right. The shadows seem to lead you towards the figure. I like the notes, which all makes sense, so "Bagliore dei signori italiani"
woolybill1 Plus
15 38 78 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2021 5:47PM
My speciality is dolce far niente 😉😉😉

20 Sep 2021 5:59PM
Thanks for the write up! Interesting descriptive and memorable - education for me, an appalling linguist.
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
20 Sep 2021 6:21PM
capto Plus
9 6.8k 25 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2021 6:26PM
A 'dapper' gent. Liking the unorthodox composition.Smile
20 Sep 2021 6:30PM
nice picture and write-up to go with it
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1878 England
20 Sep 2021 6:37PM
Beauty matters: we both know this, Ollie!

But there must be substance beneath the surface, or else it's all illusion. Though I'm not entirely sure which country currently embodies all of that...
cooky Plus
17 6 5 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2021 8:13PM
Classically lovely shot Ollie. Even the casual placement of his face mask in the breast pocket!

mrswoolybill Plus
14 3.0k 2459 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2021 9:20PM
He looks good, but in a moment he'll disappear. And we'll never know what he's thinking.
I keep coming back to this. It's a quirky, snatched moment in time but it balances so beautifully, the man pulling away from the cycles on an invisible piece of elastic.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
21 Sep 2021 5:28AM
A well dressed man that likes to read ... maybe likes coffee culture too...
love how you have him leaving the frame Ollie. Wonderful capture
franken Plus
19 5.3k 4 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2021 7:43AM
Excellent, Oliver.
saltireblue Plus
11 12.2k 76 Norway
21 Sep 2021 8:30AM
Only an Italian would go to buy his daily paper in a suit. Although he is showing a degree of casualness by omitting a tie...
Their sense of casual elegance is one thing I admire most about the Italians. They wear elegance in such a natural way...
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2021 9:29AM
Hansome gentleman. Excellent street candid.
Very well seen, Isabel GrinGrin
SlowSong Plus
13 9.8k 30 England
21 Sep 2021 10:28AM
I wonder if that mindset is held mostly by the older members of the population. I admire the style you describe, but I imagine it's not universal amongst the young Italians. Or perhaps I'm mistaken.

Whatever, I am very drawn to this picture.
TrevBatWCC Plus
13 13 19 England
21 Sep 2021 12:16PM
Yes, as said above, it goes against the rules, the man walking out of shot rather than in. But rules are made to be broken, and this works very well, Ollie! 😃 He balances well too with the bikes to the right, which gives it extra impact 👍
Trev 😀
Jukka Plus
10 1 Finland
21 Sep 2021 12:17PM

Quote: nice picture and write-up to go with it
I agree!

21 Sep 2021 3:40PM
Elegant photography.
21 Sep 2021 9:07PM
Excellent candid shot, what a gentleman Oliver...Lin
pablophotographer 10 1.9k 411
22 Sep 2021 12:11AM
-"10 horizontally... Might be "porte', might be "morte"...
22 Sep 2021 9:28AM
Very well caught, Ollie.

John Smile
22 Sep 2021 10:33PM
A great capture Oliver and I love the way you've explained the term. Italy having been my adoptive country for most part of my life I greatly appreciate your definition of it not being limited to the outer appearance..

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