Backstage after Rio de Janerio Carnival 2007

Whether you call it Marti Gras, Carnivale (Italian), Carnival or Fat Tuesday, today is a day to Dance to the Music – in the streets, all night long. And nobody parties better than Brazil.

The cablecar ride up to the top of Sugarloaf is thrilling but the views of Rio can't be beat

I may have left my heart in San Francisco but the rest of me, including my eyes and stomach I leave in Rio. Sorry SF, Rio is a prettier city by the bay (Guanabara Bay that is) and if you've ever experienced a real Brazialian Churrascaria or even a humble but yummy kilo restaurant you know I'm right.

I'm waiting for the Brazilian Fashion Police to arrive. Even office clothes tend to be very skimpy.

Traditional costume from the Brazilian colonial period reflected European standards and tastes

It was hot and the caipirinha were a little too refreshing the afternoon we visited the famous Corcorvado statue.

The wild extravaganza of Carnival (accent on the last syllable) is unsurpassed. The Rio Samba Stadium called the Sambadomo is a totally unique cultural phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the world’s biggest stage. Competing Samba Schools rehearse all year long to perform in the Samba Parade while others construct gigantic floats and design elaborate costumes. Compared to the Rose Bowl Parade, Rio’s Carnival is 10 times bigger (the parade literally lasts ALL night), with 10 times bigger floats and 10 times smaller costumes. OK, I could be a little off on my facts. The costumes are probably closer to 95 times smaller.

Foot-eye view in El Salvatore, Brazil.

The vast majority of people in Brazil wear simple (and very cheap) flipflops shoes.We used to call them thongs, but that means something else nowadays. Thongs are ever more popular in Brazil than flipflops (See my upcoming post)

Party on!


I don’t have anything against dogs. Really, I don’t. But much to my dismay, dogs have always had it in for me.

There are some dogs that totally adore me, wanting nothing more from life than to eternally lick me on the lips and hump my leg with wild abandon. But by far the majority of the dog population is fascinated with the idea of how I would taste. There are no Suzie-neutral dogs, none that are indifferent to my presence. Dogs either love me madly or they think my guts would look good spread across the living room floor.

Most people think I hate dogs. It’s become a popular pass-time to ridicule me about it. I’m accused of kicking dogs that I haven’t even met (but probably deserve kicking). I’m put in a category with puppy drowners and heartless clods that don’t cry over those sappy Lassie movies. Well, it’s not true that I hate dogs, at least not ALL dogs. And even if it is true, THEY STARTED IT, not me!!!

I don’t know why dogs feel so passionately about me. I only know that it’s true worldwide. I’ve been attacked on 6 different continents. I was almost Suzie-sushi in Singapore recently. And I’m not talking about just stray misfit mad-dogs. Oh, no. Just as often it’s a dog described by their owners (as they try to pull precious Fido off of me) as the gentlest beast that ever shamelessly pooped on the face of the earth (or my good rug). And, so I’ve been repeatedly told, ‘widdle sweetums’ had never mauled so much as a flee before lunging at my throat. Why in the world (and all over the world) is it always ME?

This worldwide phenomenon is what leads me to the quite logical conclusion that dogs, unlike people, have one universal language that they all understand and use to communicate with each other globally. Think about it! It makes sense! I’m positive that if you put a Chinese Latso Opsa or Umpa Lumpa (or whatever they are called) in the room with a Scottish terrier that unlike their human counterparts they would understand each other instantly. No bow-wow translation needed.

Granted, there would probably be some minor trouble with accents and pronunciation, but nothing major. And I would expect some cultural differences to show up in conjugation and syntax errors. A ‘yelp’ that means one thing to an English bulldog, might mean another thing to say, an American golden retriever - similar to me getting cookies for breakfast in London when I ordered biscuits. I’ll bet those stuck-up French poodles with their snouts in the air use vocabulary that goes right over the head of a street mutt - rude! But, they would understand each other for the most part and be able to shoot the breeze with ease about doggy world current events.

And of course, topping the list of dog-doings (I translate here for the two legged): “Have you seen Suzanne Salvo? Do you know where she is and what she tastes like?” I’m convinced this happens because all dogs worldwide recognize me immediately– SOMEONE HAD TO TELL THEM! How else would they know me on sight (or maybe smell)? To spread the word about me on a global basis and keep interest in me at fevered pitch, all dogs must bark the same language!

So besides being germ and insect ridden, and besides having horrible eating etiquette and carrying some of the worst odors I've ever encountered, dogs must be the biggest blabber-mouths on the planet. Rover may not have internet access yet, but (like Yankees) they do have very loud voices and they obviously (again like Yankees) enjoy the sound of their own voices repeating the same information over and over and OVER again – for hours on end if they sense I’m nearby. “She’s here! I can smell her! I want to rip her throat out!” She’s here! I can smell her! I want to rip her throat out!”. ALL NIGHT LONG.

I don’t think I’m barking up the wrong tree with this one-language, dogs communicate-over-long-distances theory. There was a documentary a few years back on canines, produced by a well respected, world renowned film company. In it, dogs are actually shown relaying information between breeds and across hundreds of miles.

Maybe some of you saw it ...... 101 Dalmatians.


Engaging in intense therapy

I’ve made the mistake of actually watching the news the last couple of weeks and it’s made me terribly depressed. When I get depressed I eat. When I eat I get fat and then even more depressed.

A friend told me it would do me good to research my health issues stating ‘knowledge is the answer.’ After a 2 hour google search that included taking one of those ‘what’s your REAL age’ tests I was even more depressed. I’ve decided ‘chocolate is the answer’ and I’ve now blocked her on Facebook.

Dieting is a Weigh of Life
I love sweets which makes it impossible for me to stay with a diet – I guess that makes me a desserter. (teehee)

I find it’s easier to eat healthy when I’m home alone. I can take my time and eat slowly which they say is good for you. That makes sense given that it’s not the minutes you spend at the table that adds pounds, it’s the seconds. On the road eating in restaurants is diet death. Even if there are healthy choices, the hardest part isn’t watching what you eat. It’s watching what other people eat. It’s stressful seeing people eat what you really wanted to order. And remember, Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts. It’s a vicious circle. It’s leading me to drink.

So I decided to concentrate on exercise instead of diet. I’ve taken up jogging in the afternoons around 5pm. The trouble is the ice cubes keep sloshing out of my martini glass…


Flashing our first class tickets

Only a few will appreciate the story I’m about to tell. Travel geeks unite!

So we’re sitting in Orlando on Sunday morning with a flight back to Houston scheduled for around 6pm. We have been upgraded to first class and should be satisfied, but… We’ve seen enough sugar-high screaming kids in mouse ears to last a good long while and well, we’re basically impatient people and ready to go. So we decide to spend $50 to change to an earlier flight, which would mean giving up our first class upgrade. A hard choice, but it’s only a 2 hour flight – nothing for someone accustomed to long-haul overseas plane rides.

The scene at the airport is total chaos. They have changed our plane to a smaller one necessitating new boarding passes for everyone but even worse – our new flight is delayed, negating the earlier flight advantage! Oh, no!!

But we Travel Geeks KNOW THE WAYS. Chris approaches the gate agent and politely inquires about overbooked possibilities, stating we of hand-baggage-only would be willing to stand down. “Oh thank you!”, says the gate agent. “Here’s a couple of $200 vouchers and, oh yes, I can get you first class seats on a flight leaving in less than 2 hours.” That flight being the one we were originally scheduled to fly.

Yes I know it's terrible geeky, but we love playing The Travel Game. We would so win on The Amazing Race.

Bonus Points:
Having a couple of hours seating here at the airport I have
Undated my Facebook profile photo
Posted my Beijing Silk Market video on FB
Added another couple dozen pins on my World Map
And since there is free Wifi here at the Orlando airport (God bless them!) I’ve posted this new blog entry!

GO TEXAN, Canadian style.

What better way to celebrate Rodeo Days than with a combo Communicator/BBQer? This event is shaping up to be one of the best.

Everything I Know About Employee Communications, I Learned From Barbecue (Luncheon Only)

Ron “Rockin’ Ronnie” Shewchuk, ABC Consultant, Author & Blogger

Longview Communications, Inc.

Thursday 26-Feb-09 11:15 AM to Thursday 26-Feb-09 1:15 PM

There is also an after lunch workshop to increase your knowledge and/or your time away from the office.

See ya there!

Truth in Advertising

Who hasn't see these ads?

“It’s for the house, the car, the boat the RV”

Everyone in The States (and elsewhere?) has seen the ShamWow commercials featuring the really sleazy looking guy named Vince that demonstrates the miraculous towels. This guy could be the poster boy for used car salesman. The claim is the ShamWows can soak up 20 times their weight in liquid including wine, coffee, cola or pet pee. The ad is classic infomercial style complete with real (read real ugly) people telling how ShamWow forever changed their up until then miserable little lives.

“Are you following me camera guy?”
The funny thing is, everybody I’ve asked says they hate the ads but - they spontaneously start quoting lines from the commercial to me. Obviously they are watching long enough and often enough to memorize parts verbatim.

“But wait, there’s more!”
Being smart and sophisticated, I did not fall for the “call within the next 20 minutes and get double the offer” gimmick. But when I saw the ShamWow for sale at my local Bed Bath & Beyond for the 2-fer price (plus my 20% BB&B coupon) I just couldn’t resist. Yes, I succumbed and joined the herd of mindless lemmings heading for the cliff.

My report
Wow – It really was a case of TRUTH in advertising. ShamWow is a SHAM, just like the slime-ball pitch guy says! Shame on me!

New New New

2009 will be a year of change for many people. Included in that is a whole new website for Salvo Photography AND a completely redesigned blog for me. I'm working on it now, which is why you haven't seen much of me here lately.

Back to you soon - thanks for reading!



For the Olympics Tian’anmen Square was decorated in giant floral arrangements depicting various scenes of the events

I love China, for all the wrong reasons. Sure, it has one of the world’s greatest cuisines but did you know that ice cream was invented in China or that the Chinese consume more CocaCola than any place else in the world? Put them together and you could make a coke float big enough to plug a black hole. But then again eating everything on your plate is considered a tad rude in China, as it implies your host didn’t serve you enough food. Table manners? Feel free to loudly slurp your soup as it is not considered rude, in fact it is encouraged.

Chinese national pride soared during the Olympics

One of our stops on a recent assignment to China was Shanghai. With an estimated population of over 20 million Shanghai’s astounding recent growth has made it arguably the largest city in the world – but nobody seems to know for sure. It’s uber modern skyline goes on forever and so does the traffic.

Dining at a revolving restaurant gave us amazing views of the Shanghai skyline.

When in foreign countries our goal is always to get into someone’s home for an authentic peak at the local lifestyle. This assignment called for just that. We shot cooking scenes as well as calligraphy and sports with this woman's lovely Chinese family.

I learn dumpling making from a Beijing housewife on a photoshoot. I have the best job in the world!

Chinese fast food - fried scorpions on a stick. The food can be very strange for Westerners.

Wangfujing Street, also known as Snack Street in Beijing is very popular with locals who dine on exotic dishes like boiled sheep’s head, spiced starfish on a stick and sauted eel.

Outside our hotel window in Yantai, China there was a fabulous dancing water and laser light show, ala Las Vegas. How could we sleep with that kind of entertainment going on?

Chris shoots me in the traditional stand-at-attention pose favored by Chinese tourists in front of the Temple of Heaven.

If you are a moderate to hard core shopper, a trip to China will literally pay for itself in bargain prices. Sure, some of the stuff you see (OK, most of it) will be knock offs, but in many cases the quality is still very good, so why not? Just be sure to make a careful quality inspection before you buy.

Before you go, study bargaining skills.
Be prepared for an INTENSE experience in The Silk Market:


Chris captures the leader in the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) as the peloton approached our spot on the mountainside

The Tour de France route came within 2 hours of our home in Acqui Terme. So how could we resist a Day at the Races?

We set out in the morning with high hopes and little idea of how the day would go. Our vague plan was to watch the race near the category 3 mountain summit outside the tiny town of Villanova Mondovi. The racers would be riding slower on the climb and the hillside would hopefully allow a vista of the approaching cyclists.

A parosol against the sun, a lawn chair and great people watching made the waiting easy.

High mountain Stage 15 of The Tour dipped into our part of Italy, ending in the ski resort town of Prato Nevoso. Visitors take note - ski resort less than 2 hours from our place. Waiting for the action, we ate lunch at a pizzaria along the race route but did not get there in time to stake out an outdoor table. We could have watched the race with a slice of pizza in one hand and a glass of vino in the other. We'll know better next time!

For hours before the race came by, amateur bikers rode the course to the cheers of the crowds. I talked a really nice Italian guy (duh) into letting me pose on his super expensive bike with the mountain summit finish line in the background.

To get to our viewing spot we needed to drive on the race course itself for 30-40 kilometers – would we be able to do that? Turned out the race road is open to car traffic until 2 hours before the peloton is due and reopened almost immediately after it passes.

The first thing we noticed on the way to the race was the streets in towns along the course had been decorated by locals in festive yellow ribbons. Bike racing is BIG in Europe, like the Super Bowl in the USA. Although the racers were not due to pass for 4-5 hours, people were already partying along the roads. The atmosphere was exuberant and catching.

The beginning of the action is marked by the appearance of The Big Yellow Guy. At this point you know the racers are about an hour away.

About an hour before the racers are due to arrive, the Sponsor Parade cruises by made up of dozens of Mardi Gras type float cars. They threw souvenir hats, French comic books, playing cards (ouch), even packs of cigarettes. The crowd, including me, loved it.

The best part-time summer job ever - driving the cappuccino cup car in the Tour de France sponsor parade.

I had always wondered if the racers and support vehicles were really as dangerously close to the spectators as they looked on TV. Actually, THEY ARE CLOSER! Check out my close encounter of the Tour kind.


We drove north up into Maine then over to New Hampshire staying on local roads.

Traveling based on corporate publication deadlines as we do, the weather is a secondary consideration in timing the trip. If I had a nickel for every time we’ve heard “you should have been here yesterday, the weather was great”, I could afford to bale out at least one if not more of the recently failed credit institutions.

We got up early to catch the good light and the reflection on this pond before the wind came up.

We took several short hikes that got us into the thick of the colors.

But the Weather Gods were with us on a recent trip to New England. The fall foliage was at its peak and I’ve never seen anything to compare with its vibrant color, unless it was the brilliant shades of red and yellow below. This trip was a feast for the eyes and mouth!

Reds and yellows are my favorite colors no matter where I see them!


Our son Jeffrey married his true love, Jessica, in a fairy tale wedding held at the Meritt Bois-D'-Arc Ranch north of Dallas, Tx. Enjoy the photos below from the event and especially the video at the bottom. What a happy time!

Jessica surprised the crowd and Jeffrey by arriving on horseback.

Jeff returned the surprise by performing a song he had written for Jess at the reception.

And they surprised us with a gift of ‘private label’ wine. Click to enlarge and see the photos on the bottles.

The outdoor setting was total romance

One of these things is not like the others… Surrounded by the handsome groomsmen. God, I love weddings!

The bride’s luncheon was the time for girl gab.

A very special time for mom Connie and daughter Jessica.

Nothing says party like hundreds of happy drunks with fire.

Can't get enough wedding photos? Here's a link to even more:

Jeff and Jess wedding

I AMsterdam

(Stolen from a Netherland’s tourist ad campaign).

We had to venture outside Amsterdam to see real windmills. This one was near the enchanting town of Gorinchem, not far from the renounded pottery town of Delft. Click to enlarge.

Dammed if Amsterdam isn’t the most ideal tourist destination I have ever seen. Set amidst the backdrop of charming old world architecture, utterly enchanting canals and boasting more bicycles than cars, Amsterdam still manages to feel really hip and modern.

Canals and bicycles, iconic Amsterdam

Chose your own adventure and Amsterdam will provide it. You want world class museums? See the originals of paintings you have seen all your life at the Rijks Museum, filled with Rembrandts and Vermeers. Or the Van Gogh (the Dutch say Van Gawk) museum housing Vincent’s incredibly beautiful but somehow heartbreaking images. My guide book likened his work to ‘a series of suicide notes’. Side panels include snippets of his wild and tragic life in both Dutch and English, helping the viewer get inside the head of the great but flawed artist. Truly a thought provoking, mind altering exhibit.

My guidebook described this image as the decisive moment a group of notables notices someone new walking into the room - they all look up in anticipation. Who is it, they appear to ask. Many of you will recognize this as Rembrandt's classic Dutch Masters - used ad naseum in cigar ad campaigns in the 60s, rendering it trite to many. Sad, because the original is truly a magnificent example of Dutch Renaissance painting, painstakingly perfect in detail.

Had enough culture? Stop at a ‘Coffee Shop’ for a mind alteration of a different kind and I’m not talking caffeine – there’s one (or two) of these pot shops on just about every block, particularly in the Red Light District. I was surprised to find no less than 4 very large churches located practically within arms length of the Ladies Behind the Windows. Chris and I, along with hoards of other window shoppers strolled the narrow alleys for a peek at the steamy side of life. The vibe was more electric and exotic than sleazy and we never felt anything but totally safe.

The Red Light District was packed with 'window shoppers' on a Saturday afternoon.

My favorite part? Strolling aimlessly along the scenic canals - a new vista around every bend. Window shopping of a different variety, I loved poking my head in the zillions of small boutiques selling everything from tulip bulbs (had to have some), cheeses (ate all I could), silk scarves (yes, I bought one – you know me and scarves), Delft pottery (yes again), and Dutch chocolates (duh).

Add to this the fact that Schipol is one of my favorite airports in the whole world, with great connections into the city and you have a destination worthy of traveler’s time and money. I will be back!

Lucciola e Papaveri
(Fireflys and Poppies)

Poppies bloom in profusion around our house.

Spring in the Italian Piemonte means wildflowers everywhere including wild orchids, but especially poppies. Magical bright red poppies! Every time I say that word in my head it sounds like ‘Pahhhh-peees’ per The Wicked Witch of the West.

“And now, my beauties, something with poison in it, I think. Something with poison in it, but attractive to the eye, and sooooothing to the smell. Poppies... Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleeeeeeeep. Now they'll sleep!”

And the poppies are working – I’ve slept like, well, like I was drugged the last 2 nights here.
I counted at least 10 other varieties of wildflowers in bloom as well.

Except I awoke around midnight last night due to a swarm of fireflys tapping on my window. How lovely! I haven’t seen fireflys like that since before color TVs. Back then in summertime little girls, myself included, ran around bare chested like the boys. Why not? It was hot and many years before I would need a bra, which made it long before I burned one alongside Bella Abzug at an NOW (National Organization of Women) rally in 1971. On long summer nights back then the neighborhood kids used mayonnaise jars to catch fireflys in flight. You had to be quick and open the jar only at the last second so all your other fireflys didn’t escape. We poked holes in the top of the jars with an ice-pick so they wouldn’t die too quickly and then used the jars like flashlights.

I think my Italian fireflys last night were attracted to the tiny glowing light coming from my Mac computer. Through the window they could see the little spec of light throbbing to alert me the computer was still on – beaming low then bright, low then bright continually – it must have had a familiar look to them. I believe my Italian fireflys thought the undulating light was some exotic cousin come to town, because on closer inspection I could see they were really hurting themselves trying to get in. Probably male Italian fireflys. Typical!


While in Chicago presenting at the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference, we were interviewed about hot button issues in visual communications. The resulting video is below.

What you don't see in the video is me pinching Chris' butt off camera trying to get him to crack-up. I'm a chronic butt-pincher, always have been. It's sick, I know. But I just can't resist. My kids know not to bend over anytime I'm in the room. And I sometimes have to restrain myself in airports when strangers bend over to pick up their luggage. But Chris was sooooo professional and he has this great radio-quality voice that carries so well. By comparison I sound like a chipmunk.

By chance, David Murray's piece on The Secrets of Good Corporate Photography came out the same day.

And my IABC CWBulletin Visually Speaking column also hit on the same day, totally unplanned. I had great fun researching and writing this piece on the psychological effects of color. Did you know the number one favorite color in the world is blue? Or that the color red supposedly increases your appetite? Most people would consider me strange, but my favorite color is black. I think it's a photo thing...


The effect lasted only five minutes. (click to enlarge)
Copyright Chris Salvo

Transformations was the theme for the 2008 ASMP Exhibit at the legendary international photo festival known as FotoFest. Transformations - how appropriate for us. Somehow during our grueling overseas work schedule Chris found the time to enter his Texas Shadows shot and it was selected for the show. And miracles or miracles, after months on the road we arrived back in Houston from Egypt on the evening of the Opening. We ‘transformed’ into quasi-appropriate attire in the car on the way from the airport.

Chris holds up a copy of the ASMP Bulletin featuring a story about the exhibit.

Chris has been a member of the prestigious American Society of Media Photographers since he began his career over 20 years ago. It has provided inspiration, business know-how and life-long friendships with other folks crazy enough to be in this industry. See the complete ASMP FotoFest exhibit.

Other shots from the Houston Texans football game:

Texas and Football - on a pretty day it's a match made in heaven

Tail gating is a time honored tradition at Texas football games. I hope the food had better taste than the cooks.

Cowboy hats are still popular in Texas, but usually without the horns.

Horny fans.


Lights! We have lights! But electricity is so expensive, this will probably be the first and last time we turn them all on.

We head back to Italy the first week of June and besides a couple of work projects we plan to be there, living in the house through the summer. Did I really say ‘living in the house’? Wow! Three years in the making - it’s really a Midsummer’s Night Dream come true.

Lights yes, but still no fireplace (see the tube) or furniture.

Presto pesto! Using my good friend and fab cook Tilde’s recipe, I made pesto in about 2 minutes. Genovese pesto traditionally contains green beans and potatoes in with the pasta. DELICIOUS!

The most beautiful bathroom in the whole wide world. The walk in shower with mosaic floor tile has a built-in bench seat. And I don’t know how I ever felt clean without a bidet.

For my America friends: How to use a bidet.

Sr. Barabino checks and double checks and TRIBLE checks the measurements for the custom spiral staircase.

Hopefully the staircase will be installed by the end of July. HOPEFULLY - because for now we have to outside to go between floors, no matter what the weather. And you can't reach the top floor guest room at all except by scary hand over hand ladder. So hold off those visits until the Fall!

Ragan CCC is Si, Si Si!

Chicago is a world-class walking town

I love Chicago. I love Communicators. And I love speaking at Conferences. So the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference in Chicago was a real blast for me. And I mean that literally – it was windy in the Windy City.

The legendary Drake Hotel was formal without being stuffy and somehow managed to be elegant and cozy at the same time.

Chris and I were interviewed for upcoming Ragan video-news publications.

My 3hour workshop - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Corporate Digital Photography But Were Afraid To Ask, was attended by a wide variety of communicators from across the country.

The hands-on people shooting exercise included directing and lighting tips.

Thanks Mark, Cristin, Yolanda, Steve, Jim, David and the rest of the Ragan folks for a great time!

The digital photo

Same photo, just a little lighting changes in photoshop makes a HUGE difference, eh?

I’ve been doing a number of presentations, articles and interviews lately about the controversy over photo manipulation. One of the best discussions was at a conference in Barcelona. You can read what Kristin Sukalac had to say about it in an article titled 'Ethics and Images' in PR Conversations. Also published in the Italian version, Ferpi.

I think the topic will soon heat up, with the annual report photo being the first image held under the legal microscope.

Here’s a couple of excerpts from an upcoming article I’m writing for the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) publication, Communication World:

Some people say any alteration of an image is a lie. They think of photos as uncensored slices of truth that should never be soiled by human intervention. They argue that at the moment of capture, photographs are pure undisputable facts void of prejudice. They believe that manipulating a photo is the same as manipulating the truth. These same people hark back to the good old days when you could ‘trust’ what you saw in a photo to be a totally accurate rendition of reality. They tend to think of a camera as a dumb machine capable only of emotionless exact duplication of its surroundings. They forget that it’s a human that decides where to point the lens and when to push the button.

The fact is every image ever captured is in some way a distortion of reality. The mere act of deciding what segment of a scene to include or exclude from a frame can vastly affect a photo’s integrity. For example, you see a vast field of beautiful red tulips but one of the plants is dying. If you focus your camera only on the sick plant and exclude the healthy ones you have not digitally altered the image but you have warped the audience’s perception of the scene. The resulting unretouched image is an intentionally misleading representation of the field of tulips. It makes no difference if the decision to crop out the healthy plants happened in camera at the moment of capture or afterwards in Photoshop. In other words, it’s not the technology that is at the heart of the photo manipulation controversy, it’s the ethics behind the manipulation.

For more on the subject, check out the results of an interview Chris and I did on photo ethics with communication wizard Marc Wright on a recent trip to London - Simply Communicate. I'll be covering ethics and just about everything else related to corporate photography in a couple of sessions at the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference in Chicago.

With post-Enron sensitivity alive and well, this topic is not going away anytime soon. So is Photoshop evil? What say you?


Sunset emailing from the steps outside our Italian house is one of the best sensations in the world

I just arrived in Italy and I’m very happy to report our house phone and (be still my heart) the INTERNET are both working! At least for the moment. Chris arrived a week ahead of me and has been getting lots of language practice chatting up TELECOM repairmen and service technicians. Being Italian, the internet works brilliantly when it feels like it, but is subject to emotional outbursts and can inexplicably quit without warning.

The internet signal here in Terzo comes and goes like a capricious lover. It’s there one minute satisfying my every whim but ten minutes later vanishes, selfishly leaving matters unresolved and me totally frustrated. And when I call begging for more, TELECOM acts annoyed and tries to pretend it never heard of me. Madonna!

We Party On! PartyLINE that is.
If you dial our Terzo house phone right now (and I hope you do) there is only a 50-50 chance the woman who answers will be me. That’s because incoming calls to us also ring the phone of our neighbor down the hill, and I’m not sure who else’s phone. She’s being very nice about it. Really nice. I think maybe she’s enjoying listening in.

Skype me for a personal video tour of the Italy house. That is, if my internet is working…


Chris took this photo (click to enlarge) on our first night sleeping in the house in Italy as I prepared our first meal in the new kitchen (bruschetta, ravioli with pesto, veal scaloppini).

When I look at this picture the wires hanging from the ceiling are transformed into the sparkling high-style accent lights we picked out from the store in Molare (I can now say ‘Do you have that in a square base with a chrome finish?’ in Italian); the giant tube on the right is a soaring vertical fireplace framed in sleek stone; and the ladder is a stunning steel spiral staircase with cherry wood steps picked that night from the samples you see on the floor.

The electricity and gas were on, and we had running water, although we couldn’t figure out how to make it hot. The foot thick walls made for cool and quiet sleeping – loved it!

What you can see is the gorgeous floor tile (we agonized over the pattern), the cherry wood sliding door with stainless steel accent (all the interior doors are like that) and you can just make out the black African granite bar top. The radiators are still baffling creatures to us that somehow produce heat.

Still LOTS to finish, but now we can do it whilst living there! Stay tuned, more photos soon.