I have been asked in this forum and others, time and time again, why I do not print digitally. So, I guess is time that I explain this issue the best I can. I have found that digital prints have come a long way. I have seen beautifully black and white photography printed digitally, with fiber based papers, that are gorgeous. The tonality, the perfection, spotless prints. However, through the years, I have come to the conclusion, that photography there is not only about the act of capturing an image, but also the ability to produce beautiful prints. When I work on platinum or gelatin silver printing, I feel that part of my soul is in the photograph. Each stroke of my brush, each burning and dodging, every imperfection that is part of being an artist is in each one of the prints. Are they perfect?, of course not. However, the fact that they are not is what makes that print even more beautiful. That little spotting, the strokes on the border of the image, and many other of the subtleties of hand made print is there, living in the print as long as the print is alive. Each print carries the history and the touch of the artist, in so many ways. By no means I am saying that digital prints are less than hand-made prints, no, not at all, in fact I know well how long it takes somewhat on the computer to produces that perfect image. But, to paraphrase Michael Kenna, digital photographs are like music that your hear on CDs, perfect, beautiful. Hand made prints are like music that you hear on a concert, live, with all imperfections of being an artist. So, this is just some of my thoughts about the subjects. An for the special request, one of the images of the bicycles that I have talked to you about. Enjoy it.
Now, there is something about Italy… Of course my last name helps me to have a genetic connection to the beautiful country, but beside that, I think it is a very special place. I was walking with my wife in one of these little wonderful towns, as old as history itself, when we decided to visit a very old church. Almost everybody knows that one thing you DO NOT do in Italy , is to take pictures insight of a church. This is as prohibit as discussing the new health care reform in USA. :). But, since photography is something I like, even when I play tourist, I always carry my little Leica M6 with a role of film ready for the “decisive moment” (I think someone said that term before). We entered the church and the moment was in front of me. The priest was posing in the church to a policeman who was ready to take his picture. More interesting, it was that he was next to a sign that stated NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED insight the church (in Italian of course). So here I am, how could I miss an opportunity like that. I took my camera, I quickly guess exposure and focusing, and got the shot. I do not know if you know Leica’s cameras or not, but they are as quiet as they can be. I told my wife to leave as soon as possible, since I got my picture (I did ask for forgiveness in a quiet payer.) But I was not as lucky as I thought. Two big guys, football players-like (unlikely in Italy), approached me and demanded me to give them the camera. I explained in Italian, that I was only doing the same thing they were doing, why did I have to give my camera to them?? They explained me that since he was the priest, he was allowed to have his picture taken, but photography was not allow in the church. So I refused to give them my camera, but I have to give them my role of film. Oh well, at least I got a shot of the church from the outside.
I had the opportunity to visit Italy again last winter. A well known company in the USA gave me an assignment: to get images of bicycles. So, what a better place to go than the old town of Luca. Luca is a beautiful small town in the north-west of Italy. The city is surrounded by a large wall that covers the perimeter of the city. Only very few automobiles are allowed. Thus, most of the people that have been living there for many generations rides a bicycle to work, as well as, to get around the city. As you can imaging, the city’s architectural make-up is many centuries old. Most of the building are at least several hundred years old. I had the opportunity to spot this ruin castle, overlooking a beautiful church. The area is enchanted by the wonderful people and European style hospitality. The trip was successful in many ways, although I found my self spending more time doing my own work, than shooting bicycles. Oh well, the assignment got done anyway.