Today, many people choose to be isolated and separated from the world around them. Sicilian Balconies is a visual reminder of this trend.

Compared to other projects, Sicilian Balconies is so far the one I did spend most of the time on, before I published it here. The idea goes back to a vacation in Sicily, in June 2009. I archived the vacation pictures a long time ago. But for for some reason, I did keep the pictures for this project in a separate collection. I knew I wanted to present them in a specific way, but I was not sure how.

The idea behind “Sicilian Balconies”

When you stroll through the streets of a Mediterranean town, you will notice that nearly every house has a street-facing balcony on the first floor (for the US: on the second floor), and some of them even on the upper floors. Some of the balconies allow the residents to step out, virtually into the street. Others are just “symbolic” balconies, with metal bars in front of a door. But in any case, the residents can choose to be involved in whatever happens in the street below. They just have to open the door and step out.

If you think about it, this concept is so different from our behavior today. These days, we prefer to to isolate ourselves from whatever is going on around us. For me, the decaying balconies are a clear sign that today, most of people prefer to be separate and isolated from the life outside. These thoughts went through my head when walking through the streets. It was easy to notice that most of the balconies haven’t been used and maintained for a long time. Some of them are still in use, though this is clearly the minority. So who knows, at some point in the future we might decide to get involved again. Wouldn’t that be great?

Technical details

I had captured around 30 pictures of balconies during my vacation in Sicily. They were all taken from different viewpoints, different angles and at different times of the day. Perspective distortion was an issue with every single picture. I was able to correct the distortion when a recent version of Lightroom added an “auto” distortion correction feature. It worked well most of the time with only minor tweaks left. After removing visually similar photos, I decided on the final set of 12 pictures.

The final step took me another year to complete. I wanted the pictures to show similar details so they become comparable. Plus, I also wanted to visually emphasize the decay. In the end, every picture was cropped to the same format and a combination of various filters in Color Efex Pro gave me the moody look I was after. Sicilian Balconies was finally complete.