Rental Diaries, vol. 12
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Rental Diaries, vol. 12

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Fri 08 Jun 2018 7:31 AM

In an exercise of sound judgment, the powers-that-be here at The Florentine recently barred me from posting photographs I’ve taken on TF’s channels without first consulting him. I mean them. Okay, there’s just one power that be, at least when it comes to visuals. (His name is Marco, and his best ism’s are collected here.) Photography is, to put it mildly, not my forte.

Still, despite my utter lack of lens know-how, I’m convinced there’s room for me to make real money as a photographer, crushing the competition to boot. It’s all about breaking into the right arena: apartment ads.

I should mention that I already have a pro bono side gig as a sympathetic real estate agent for soon-to-be-homeless friends. Scouring housing listings, upturning bar bulletin board leaflets to uncover steals scribbled on sticky notes—these happen to be favorite pastimes. Thus I’m well-acquainted with the average photos placed alongside flat descriptions. The bar is lower than the lowest seminterrato this side of the sea.

Presumably, these ad posters—usually agencies—want to get these apartments rented. But the accompanying photographs feel…oddly salacious, like a real estate version of “Stars without makeup!” They often seem accidental, as if someone inadvertently tapped an iPhone’s home button mid-save, just before the screen hit the floor. Zoom-ins on thoroughly unremarkable room corners; intimate close-ups of IKEA lightbulbs; flash-happy bathroom mirror shots, often with the bonus of a lurking reflection; and a personal favorite, views out the window, usually of internal condo walls or a blurry sky. Helpful.

How these ads attract tenants is astonishing, but city-wide desperation—compliments of a certain vacation rental giant—must generate traction. Strangely, the photos are a comforting reminder that Florence is not one giant B&B. I think I’ll shelve my business idea for now.

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