The cliché: “Buy the ticket, take the ride,’ persists because there’s an element of truth to taking routine chances, and later realizing how this often changes us for the better.
Ask Stefana Lazzari. Two years ago, the Milano native took a photography workshop “by chance,” and fell in love with Street Photography. The 41-year-old Lazzari has not looked back.
In fact, the chance workshop ignited such a passion for her, that one would never know Lazzari has only been pursuing street photography for two years.
“I love street photography,” Lazzari said, “yet my approach more closely resembles documentary photography.”
Documentary photography. Photojournalism. Street photography. It’s all good. Where one line begins and ends has little meaning when it’s the narrative that matters.
More recently, Lazzari had a chance to hit the streets of Milan as a photographer to cover the annual Gay Pride Parade. This year it occurred on June 30.
“The Milano Pride is a parade and festival held at the end of June each year in Milano,” Lazarri said, “to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies.”
Lazzari’ hometown is one of the cities displaying the widest variety of LGBT friendly clubs in Italy, yet the week with the greatest amount of LGBT friendly events is the week of Milano Gay Pride.
When Lazzari pursues her passion for photography in the street, she relies on a Canon 600D with a fixed lens - primarily a 50mm, though sometimes a wide-angle. Regardless, she prefers one camera and one fixed lens. As the Zen proverb goes: “Less is more.”
According to Lazzari, Pride Week takes place in the Milano city center.
“During the last week of June,” Lazzari said, “many gay cultural events take place mainly in Casa dei Diritti (House of Rights). Porta Venezia, is the heart of the gay district in Milano, and hosts “Pride Square” where vendors sell food and drink with live concerts and performances.”
Allegedly, this year’s event attracted about 250,000 people to the parade and after parties. The parade itself lasted four hours.
Whether a massive parade or people mingling on Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), Lazarri is astute about observing her immediate surroundings so that she feels part of the scene.
"I try to be as close as possible to the subjects that I want to photograph,” Lazzari said. “Yet I don’t want to be intrusive. Like all street photographers, I just want to blend in and be invisible - if possible.”
As a photographer, Lazzari uses color - which she rarely converts to B&W through Lightroom during post-production, a fine-tuned process that takes her about 15-minutes.
Italy: home of The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Italy: and Gay Pride parades.
Based on Julius Caesar’s time in Gaul (modern-day France), Roman historian Suetonius famously referred to him as “a husband to every woman, and a wife to every man.”
The world-weary view of “nothing new under the sun,” has existed as cliché for centuries.
Yet 30,000 people in Milano turned out for the recent Gay Pride parade.
“The residents of my city are absolutely tolerant of lifestyle choices,” Lazzai said. “Of course, there are many older Catholics who have some difficulty accepting same- gender relationships. Yet a huge number of Milano residents have an open mind, and accept all people who are honest and decent. Our time on Earth is so brief, we must be happy yet respectful of others.”
The Gay Pride parade in Milano, which gave Lazzari so much material as a photographer, has its origins with the Stonewall riots - a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 29, 1969 in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan in New York City
What became the Gay Rights Movement was a logical extension of the American Civil Rights Movement, spearheaded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - and many others in the 1960s, a time of significant social upheaval in the United States..
When Bob Dylan composed The Times They Are a Changin’ in 1964, he put truth to words.
And photographers like Lazzari are dedicated to documenting these changes, both common and profound, with a camera.