Church of Saint Mary Addolorata, 1997.

Walking home from one of our first dates, I asked Tina to teach me a few words of Italian.
She said, “alright, repeat after me, Ti Amo.” [I love you]
I repeated, “Tee-Ahh-Moh. How’s that?”
“That’s good.” She said.
I practiced as we walked down Lexington avenue, “Tee. ahh. moh, Tee. ahh. moh, Tee. ahh. moh” over and over again.
“Good” she said.

This photograph is from my first trip to Italy after we were engaged. Naturally, I took my camera. We heard this choir from within the stone church before seeing it. When we went in, this was the scene. Slightly terrified to disturb them and not knowing a word of Italian, I asked Tina to explain I wanted to take their picture. Tina did so masterfully and the choir happily obliged. I have often thought about how, since music is sonic, you can’t “see” it in a photograph, you can only imply it. But like the photographs of the great jazz photographer, William Claxton, when it’s done well you can actually hear the photograph.

One of the best moves I made was proposing to my wife Tina on Christmas Eve 20 years ago today. If you look closely you might be able to hear voices of the choir. Look even closer you can hear me saying “Ti Amo” over and over again.

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