Ag 57 and Italy

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Ag

The latest issue of Ag magazine (57) contains an article I wrote on the polymer photogravure process, a process that I’ve been using for nine or ten years now. This variation uses polymer plates that wash out in water instead of the toxic acids that the traditional copperplate method uses.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no distributor in the US for the magazine which is a shame, because it’s one of the better magazines currently out there, combining both technical articles with portfolios and book and show reviews. Chris Dickie, the editor and publisher, used to be the editor at the British Journal of Photography and does a fine job with Ag. Some past articles are also available as downloads here.

Italy

At the end of September Beth and I, along with a large proportion of Minneapolis it seems, flew out to Florence for the opening of Cy’s show. This is the show I spent a year or two printing as large 3-colour gum dichromates and which consist of three parts; food (The Four Seasons), flowers (Flowers of Legend and Myth) and portraits of Florentine artists. This last section is the reason I was fortunate enough to visit Florence twice last year – to help Cy photograph these wonderful artists.

The show is at the Accademia, which is home (next door) to Michelangelo’s David. The cast of the statue in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum apparently had a plaster fig leaf that could be easily attached so as not to offend Queen Victoria when she visited…

The gallery had been redecorated since I last saw it and the colour was a perfect match for the prints, as well as the salon-style hanging. Thanks to Roberto for that. It was wonderful to see many of the people we’d photographed a year or so before and see their reactions to the prints. After the show everyone made their way via a well organised (thanks Lorenzo!) fleet of taxis to the post-opening dinner at the Stibbert Museum, a collection founded by an Englishman with eclectic tastes.

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Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Florence

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Hors d’oeuvres at the Stibbert Museum, Florence

During all of this, many of us stayed at Le Piazzole, a beautiful villa within a short walking distance south of the city. Paula DeCosse did a wonderful job at organising everything for us, and everyone owes her a big thank you. At the villa there were wine tastings, wonderful catering and a performance in the villa’s amphitheatre on Saturday night by Jamie Marie Lazzara and her friends. Jamie is one of the subjects in the show and is a Liutaio – that is, she makes and restores stringed instruments, many based on those from the renaissance period. It was her violin that Itzhak Perlman played at President Obama’s inauguration. Not only is her work stunning, but she knows the best place to get an amazing pork sandwich and glass of wine in Florence.

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View from Le Piazzole, Florence

From Florence, Beth and I travelled by Eurostar train down to Rome for a few days. I can’t imagine why, but I had never been there before and I loved it. We were primarily there for Beth who’s just starting work on another project, and for someone who says she doesn’t shoot much film, that’s a big bag of unprocessed film sitting in the corner of my darkroom right now. “If this were digital I’d be home by now”. A quick train journey back to Florence for one night and then back to Minneapolis – from 80+ degrees to snow in less than 24 hours. At least with Delta I got my meals this time.

More sets of images can be found on Flickr.