Updated: Mar 24
By Giulio D'Ercole
Catching Light on a gloomy afternoon in Rome
The word "Photography" is the combination of two greek words, φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light" and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing", together meaning "drawing with light".
So, when you you are taking a photo you are actually using light to write a story. Modern digital cameras make this story-telling art a bit easier than before, since their sensors can be extremely sensitive (ISO) and they can capture light in a much better way than old film cameras. This means that we can shoot memorable pictures even in very dark situations, such as, for instance, a very gloomy afternoon in Rome, right after or before an heavy thunderstorm breaks loose.
The Archangel Michael on top of Castel sant'Angelo fought the plague... and bad weather
A sixth century AD dark legend gives the name to Castel sant'Angelo. It's the one telling that when thousands of Romans died out of a terrible plague, Pope Gregory the Great decided to lead a holy procession through the city to pray God to spare the survivors. As the procession was marching along the Tiber, the Pope looked up to the old mausoleum of emperor Hadrian and had the vision of a shining angel standing high atop the massive tomb. It was in fact the the Archangel Michael in the act of brandishing a sword only to return it to its sheath. The interpretation of the message was evident: the plague was over and God’s wrath had been put to rest.
The statue on top of Castel Sant’Angelo commemorates this story, while the sculpture of the archangel Michael serves as a reminder of God’s mercy, which is present to rescue us even in the worst times.
The power of Storytelling
As the legend narrated above speaks through symbols and allegories, a good photo can actually tell or refer to the same story juxtaposing different elements in a metaphoric manner, as in the picture down below where the Archangel Michael holds his sword ready to fight the looming thunderstorm that menacingly approaches the Castle.