March 2, 2023

Summer in Siena

"The new world I found in Italy overwhelmed my senses and curiosity. The enormous history in this small city left me searching for a way to become a part of this place. When I finally found myself become more immersed in the culture, it was easy to find delight in simple moments. The solitude within my photographs echo my need for comfort and familiarity. The loneliness I felt reflected this feeling in a positive way with my portraits of people, things, and the beauty that surrounds them."

  • Joysha Fajardo, Study Abroad in Siena, Italy 2008

Traveling abroad to study specifically to photograph the place, the people, and the culture was difficult and easy all at the same time. It came naturally to document my time there but to try and focus on a theme to bring my experience into one cohesive portfolio was tough. Our time there felt very short like it wasn't enough to bring something together and say that this was Siena! Instead, I made it into Siena in my perspective.

You'd think that a lot of it was spent in our apartment in-between classes but not really. We spent a lot of time in the Piazza eating pizza and some of us drinking lots of cheap but really good wine. Some of us walked aimlessly during the day and also during the night. One time our little group found ourselves in the middle of an outdoor event with an Italian local band covering Nirvana. None of us took pictures that time but we had lots of pictures in the playground right next to that park right before we heard the music playing.

One of my favorite memories in Siena was sitting by our apartment window with it wide open while rain hit the brick pavement below. The streets were more quiet than usual but the smell of rain reminded me of home. Not to be stereotypical because I'm from Seattle but just the mixture of rain and summer was perfect enough to bring me back even for a little bit.