The planning and excitement had been building for months. Finally, April arrived, and with it, Flytographer's 3rd Global Meetup! This year, the beguiling city of Florence was the backdrop to three days of workshops, photo shoots, friendship, fun and laughter for 30 of our photographers from around the world. Read on for the full scoop and visual diary of our adventures in la bella Firenze!
We kicked it all off with aperitivo at Uva Nera Enoteca, a charming wine bar with lots of delicious drinks and snacks to fuel our fires. Hugs were doled out freely as old friends reconnected after last year's event; new friends were embraced and welcomed with as much enthusiasm. Amid all the laughter, photo-taking and ice-breaking games, the Meetup had officially started with a bang.
(Special shout-out to the charming and friendly Alberto, who was on the ground in Florence to help with local coordinating, translation, and general good advice. Grazie per tutti!)
We started the the next day bright and early with a custom food tour around the San Lorenzo Market, presented by local culinary company MamaFlorence. We split into two groups with an expert guide each, and, cameras in hand, set off for tasty bites and unique photo ops. We visited a variety of stalls in the market, learning about Italian food traditions and enjoying samples at every stop.
At one stall, we were treated to a variety of cheese topped with aged traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena. Did you know that true balsamic vinegar is kept in the barrel for a minimum of 12 years and up to 25? It's thick and concentrated, so a few drops are all you need. Delicious!
Next stop ... a tasting of lampredotto, which is a Florentine-style tripe made from cow's stomach and typically served with salsa verde on bread. Reviews were definitely mixed by those brave and/or curious enough to give it a try!
A sweet ending to the food tour: Italian coffee and samples of fine chocolate!
After satisfying our tastebuds on the food tour, we were ready for workshops. We gathered in a beautifully restored palazzo-turned-artists'-space in the heart of old Florence called Numeroventi. The entire building is filled with light and artwork, and was the perfect setting for a group of creatives hungry for visual poetry.
Collaboration was the name of the game for this Meetup, and we wasted no time getting into groups and sharing our best ideas.
After a full day of collaborating and connecting, we took a short break and then met up at Piazza Giuseppe Poggi in the Oltrarno neighbourhood for a golden hour photo walk led by Alberto. He proved to be an expert tour guide, giving us history lessons and pointing out interesting details, all while taking necessary (and frequent!) breaks to let us pose each other and shoot throughout the streets.
After a couple hours of walking and shooting, we were ready to put the calories back on with a traditional Italian meal at Trattoria Diladdarno. The restauranteurs were kind and patient with our large group, filling us up with delicious food and excellent service.
Stuffed full of tasty burrata, gnocchi, pork loin and red wine, we rolled out of the restaurant and into the coolest thing tucked away on the sidewalk - a photo booth! Of course we couldn't let this opportunity go to waste ...
(We are clearly having no fun at all ...)
We wrapped up the night with ... what else? Gelato!
Rested (somewhat) and ready, we got things rolling the next day with business workshops and editing demos. It was a jam-packed session full of tips, questions, and brilliant ideas. We had so much to talk about, we didn't even make it through our itinerary!
Peak Design, a super-cool gear company from California, generously sponsored our meet-up with an Everyday Backpack to give away to one lucky photographer ...
... and Kimon's name was drawn out of the hat! (Here he is posing with his new bag and using a nearby statue as a muse.)
After leaving our beautiful artists' space, we made our way back to the rented house of Flytographer's HQ team for a pizza and wine party to wrap it all up. Along the way, cameras came out ... and Ramón and Sonia were posed along the Arno for photos, because when you have a couple this gorgeous and in love at your disposal, how can you not shoot them?
Our ace team of Florence photographers!
Grazie mille to the thoughtful Emma for bringing tubs of decadent gelato, which included Buonatalenti, an exclusive-to-the-city flavour named after the Renaissance Florentine who is reputed to have invented the famous Italian ice cream. Molto bene!
As we didn't quite get through our agenda during the day, Marian generously agreed to give her final presentation on creativity at the pizza party ... and slayed us all with her humour, grace and honesty.
A party's not a party until someone breaks out a guitar ...
The night ended with many of us hitting a local karoake bar to dance and sing and simply enjoy our final few hours together. Although the time spent as a group goes by much too quickly, it is gratifying to see that our Global Meetup gets better every year, with new friendships formed and old ones rekindled, with knowledge and skills generously shared, and with laughter flowing like water. It may have been hard to say goodbye to this community of creative spirits once the final song dropped, but we are all comforted knowing that this magic will last until we meet again.
See more: Team Flytographer