Catlin BSR 2012.03_MG_4691


Document Photography Fellowship 2012

Three-month fellowships at the British School at Rome (BSR) for a documentary photographer, in the unique working environment of the BSR, which brings together fine artists, architects, historians, archaeologists, and humanities scholars at various stages of their careers.


Last day. It’s been the time of my life. I feel really sad, made life long friends and I hate goodbyes.

The BSR is such a special community. From Alba and Magda my kind amici ladies, to wonderful Magdalena the receptionist and pal, my next door neighbour Colin (like a big pizza pie) who has been my patient guide through the art world and great mate, David (lionheart) Steven (incorrigible), Covi ( amore) Duarte (does my hair look ok), Charles, (that’ll do it, Cooper)  Felix (the cool cat), George (left you shoe polish!), Marissa( his beautiful lady) Fragolina (my beatiful gatta) Nick (the enigma) Robyn (el capo) Alice (all right mate) Alice B (somewhere over the rainbow) Lizzie (smiler) Lara (Titian poacher) Antonio (take your knife off the plate) Pepe (everyman) and too many others to mention, they all made this 3 months the best of my life. And I’m going now before I start before I start crying my eyes out.

Written by Angela Caitlin

Interestingly, only twelve frames separate these ladies.

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Written by Angela Caitlin

Last weekend a small group of us headed to Naples for a triple header extraordinaire. Pompeii was our first day, it was totally absorbing. So much so that three of us were last to leave the site, sheperded to the exit by an enthusiastic guard. We stood at the forum, looking up to Vesuvius trying to imagine the total fear and panic that took hold as the volcano literally blew it’s top, turning a routine day into an apocalyptic one.

Herculaneum is fascinating. It was a smaller town, 5,000, with a wealthier population than Pompeii at the time of the destruction and was effectively evacuated with only about 300 skeletons recovered along the shoreline. New communities live almost on top of the site giving little thought to a potential repeat of the disaster. Volcanologists who constantly monitor Vesuvius would nowadays expect to be able to give at least two weeks warning.

It was blowing a mean wind on top of the beastie as we linked arms in attempt to keep our feet firmly planted on the mountain. The Gods though demanded an offering and whipped off my Roma football cap into the bowels below. Interestingly enough Roma are sponsored by telecommunications company called WIND!








Written by Angela Caitlin

Watched my new team Roma lose to city rivals Lazio 1-2 this afternoon but was great spectacle. Fantastic colour, deafening noise and football wasn’t bad either.

In contrast, I was very privileged this week to be allowed to take photographs at the ballet school of Teatro dell’Opera. Formed in 1928 It is one of the oldest and most prestigious, producing many famous dancers.

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Written by Angela Caitlin

Corviale is a  housing project built on the outskirts of Rome in the 1970′s to alleviate crowding in the older central city. It is the longest single residential building in Europe: an 11-story high slab of apartments nearly 1 km in length.

There’s about 10,000 people living in it and it is regarded as a failed utopia. I found it quite fascinating with dark Piranesian overtones.Stand with your back to the monolith and it’s a view of countryside in one direction and city to the other. If the whole of the architect’s vision (he later committed suicide) had been realised ie shops, restaurants, offices etc then it could have been a different story.

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Written by Angela Caitlin

Early start today, had to be at St. Peter’s by 8am for the appointment of the new Cardinals by the Pope. Took me back a few years to newspapers as we were corralled into a pen before being force fed through a narrow alley to our allocated gantry (wonder we never came out as sausages!)  22 new Catholic churchmen were brought into the elite club of cardinals who will elect the Pope’s successor in a simple ceremony that took into account the frailty of the 84-year-old pontiff, he arrived and left via motor. There have been  reports in the Italian media of political jockeying among church officials who allegedly, sensing an increasingly weak pontiff, are already preparing for a powwow. However, today there was no sign of shenanigans to spoil the pomp of the occasion. The only jockeying evident was that between the more usual suspects ie the media. Fortunately the elbows are still pretty sharp and I did say a prayer that I wasn’t having to download, edit and file my pictures, I could just walk away, thank God…..

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Written by Angela Caitlin

It’s back, fantastic! The buses stopped late afternoon, an early cut for the weekend I guessed as there was not a sign of snow just some rain. After meeting Fr. Billy at the Irish Pontifical College to have a chat about football and religion, I visited the Basilica of St. John Lateran, it is the most important of the four major basilicas of Rome, even more than St. Peter’s. It was the first church to be built in Rome and is known as the Pope’s cathedral even though it is outside the Vatican City. An inscription proclaims it as “Mother and Mistress of all churches of the city and the World” so as you would imagine it’s pretty off the scale awesome. The good old, reliable metro was still running but by the time I got off, the freezing rain had evolved into beautiful flakes of hard fallin, soft landing snow. I moseyed my way back to the BSR taking a few pics en route. There’s a Japanese restaurant not far away and it could have been a street scene from Hokkaido midwinter.


Written by Angela Caitlin

It’s about 25 years since it snowed heavily in Rome and it was great being here to see it. Yesterday morning there was practically no traffic on the road as authorities banned cars unless they had snow chains.  Thousands of people though, tourists and Romans alike with cameras and mobile phones to witness the unusual event. It was like a holiday with everyone having a great time. At the Colosseum there was a snowball fight which progressed to hitting any car that went by, if the driver got out to remonstrate they were bombarded til they got back into their vehicle. Not funny if on the receiving end and finally the police arrived to chase the snowballers away. Went to Roma v Inter Milan this afternoon 4-0. Roma weren’t expected to win. It was great but surprisingly one sided. Another snowball fight in the crowd made for good half-time entertainment.  Dinner was about to be cancelled tonight but Peppino has walked all the way here to cook for us all, hero!

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Written by Angela Caitlin

Captions add or detract? Who, where, what, why and when, the questions  ingrained in me as I learned my trade in newspapers.  I will illustrate this by examples shown here. If there was no caption, looking at the first photograph the observer could easily be misled into thinking that the nun had got lost ,found herself in a place where she didn’t want to be and was making a sharp exit. In fact, she had been visiting the mosque, Europe’s largest, with a group, had been saying her goodbyes to the mosque guide and was running to catch up with her friends. Another example is a photograph I took of the “square colosseum” in EUR, part of a Mussolini urban project. Although the image is graphic and abstract it is still useful to have a basic idea of the subject matter. Hope this answers your question Sandy.

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Written by Angela Caitlin

When in Rome do as……and they mostly don’t pay their bus fare! I can only think the council office makes so much profit from the holy run (64) to the Vatican that there’s enough left over to subsidise the entire Roma bus network. The tourists, nuns, pilgrims etc dutifully pay their fares even if it means battering through the scrum to get to a ticket machine. Get on one going anywhere else and you will be in a minority of one should you choose a guilt free trip.


Written by Angela Caitlin

The thing about being in Rome is that several million people have photographed it before me. The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. The temple is dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. It was built  between A.D 118 and 125. Amazing. But you will have to go online to see what it looks like because the detail is not in the silhouette.


Written by Angela Caitlin

Fantastic, today I was privileged enough to have a glimpse into the world of the pope’s tailor. The Gammarelli family has been the official outfitter’s of popes, cardinals etc, since 1790.  They knit, sew and embroider the famous red, purple, black and white ceremonial dress. I watched as they created the cardinals robes for next months new appointments and hopefully I will be there to see their beautiful work displayed in the ceremony.


After pizza and ice cream, well hey I’m in Roma doin…….. I helped? out Laura in the Camerone BSR archaelogical dept., cleaning bones, not the one’s from last nights dinner but from over 2000 years ago, amazing, animal jaw bones that still possessed a pretty decent set of teeth


The evening was spent at the Japanese Cultural Centre, an early 60′s Ninja kick ass film, the hero of which unlike the Samurai had no rules about honor and combat, though the good guy still won.

Written by Angela Caitlin

Blue skies, cold but warm in the sun. Had my first Italian lesson today, there’s only 4 of us in the class, it was fine, though school days French (not that I’m fluent!) is always the first language into my head. Still angling to get in with Roma fans and pope’s tailor, chances are good as there is a lady called Maria Pia been working at BSR for 30 years and knows everyone.


Written by Angela Caitlin

Think I will pinch the title of a film by Michael Powell called ‘I know where I’m going’. Very apt as after getting lost in Villa Borghese park I came across a photography exhibition by Milton Gendel in the Orangery Gallery. Gritty, documentary photography of everyday moments that normally go unnoticed. That combined with  influence of recently awakened interest in neoclassic films is pointing the way. I revelled in the 64 bus journey from the train station to St.Peter’s jam packed with different characters. Polar opposite to it’s Glasgow equivalent which goes to Auchenshuggle!  St. Peter’s Square still has many tourists at this time of year, the weather is cooler but better suited for hiking round the sights.


Written by Angela Caitlin

I’ve arrived. The British School at Rome is amazing! After incurring a 60euro excess baggage weight courtesy of RyanAir the taxi driver helped haul it up the grand entrance to the pillar canopied oak doors. The land of giants, if size is everything, then this is everything. Home for the next 3 months and what a place to call home. Received a lovely welcome from Christopher, director BSR, and guided to the kitchen where he had thoughtfully left supper for me, very welcome. The building is mighty and awesome  and my studio/apt is terrific.

Today I was given a tour of the premises after which I strolled round the locale. Tomorrow I’m off to do a recce on the famous 64 bus to The Vatican as I want to be there for the celebrations on 6th January, Epiphany. It’s all brilliant and I have been walking around with a smile on my face since the moment the taxi pulled up in front of the steps….


Above is a photo I took last time I was in Rome, which was a 3day visit several years ago.

Written by Angela Caitlin

I am a freelance photographer and have been awarded a fellowship at The British School at Rome for 3 months, leaving on 2nd January.

It’s a wonderful start to the year, I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity by Creative Scotland and can’t wait to get started on my adventure. An adventure in one of the great, ancient, sophisticated, and beautiful capitals of the world.

For many years I have been covering harrowing, shocking, haunting and frightening stories. Including the aftermath of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia, the off the scale poverty in Haiti, gang violence in Guatemala, the despairing situation in Gaza, the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland where I was threatened at gunpoint and shot in the ankle with a plastic bullet…………and on…

The fellowship will provide me with a chance to do something that is the complete antithesis to my ‘normal’ assignments.  To be involved in a project that while still challenging allows me to work in an area that I have not experienced before. Ultimately, providing a refreshing and much needed change of focus. An unmissable opportunity.

I plan to look at different interpretations of worship from religion to football. All against one of the most amazing  architectural backdrops in the world.

Written by Angela Caitlin