17 November 2016 there are no comments yet

Being a perfectionist in the darkroom is the toughest and most time-consuming thing. Just when you think you got everything right, your eye falls on this little area in the corner, where you realize you could have worked better. And here it goes again. And again.

I am currently working as a teaching assistant and using the udergrad darkroom, so all my “bad” prints go into a huge box, and anyone can take a print or two. I have only advertised this box to few people so far, so that they get the best ones first. Yesterday I witnessed this funny moment of my friend failing to choose between several prints, all of which I have dismissed for imperfection and which seemed absolutely fine to him. So technically I could stop a good four hours before attaining the “ideal” print and still get people to appreciate it!

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But I guess my love for the darkroom is too big to be happy with the acceptable. If you love something, you are giving your all, and that feels natural and normal. So if making your work perfect seems like too much, you probably gotta change your job :)

Luckily, I don’t have to change anything! :)

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10 July 2016 there are no comments yet

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Just photographing has never been enough. You can tell by all the videos I’ve been doing, sharing the process and the backstage magic is equally as important to me as getting the final result. I am always excited to see people getting interested in analog photography, and there is no better way to make their path easier than teaching! This is the main reason why I am doing an MFA, not a regular MA in Photography: after MA it’s a long story of getting a PhD before you can teach, while MFA is a degree letting you lead courses at university level. Not like I am really considering being tied down to rules, schedules and bureaucracy (what a university actually is), my plan is leaning more towards independent courses and workshops with very few attendants.

For that to get real, work is going in two directions: setting up a space for classes, which I wrote about in the previous post,  and learning teaching methods.  I’ve assisted one photography professor before, and am doing a teaching assistant job with another right now, analyzing their every word, their ways of interacting, of explaining, of course structuring, of guiding and motivating students and constantly thinking how I would do it. I sure know I will be like neither of them, as I already have my own course plan and vision. Yet I am super-lucky to have actually pretty amazing people to assist, as they are extremely different in teaching approaches, and I can take the best bits :)
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8 June 2016 there are no comments yet

My life is a series of craziest coincidences, which seem weird when seen separately, but then fall together like a perfect puzzle I could have never imagined with a conscious effort.

Eleven years ago, when I first had the idea of learning Italian, it seemed particularly pointless: I didn’t have any connection to that country or any Italian friends, and the similar Spanish language was much more widespread and useful to know. Still, out of all world languages, I remained stuck on Italian, but only three years ago I took intensive individual classes with a really good tutor (for two months) and maintained my basic Italian alive with another professor for about a year more. Back then I was planning to move to London or New York, but had not a tiniest clue that in a few years I would end up nowhere else but Florence, getting my Photography MFA!

As a part of MFA program we are taking individual classes with a professor of a chosen specialization. Since I wanted to learn studio lighting, I started a course with Massimo, a great engineer and teacher, who did not (and still does not) speak any English. In that case usually we are provided with someone to translate, yet I was told: “You speak Italian, you’ll survive” and left alone. Quite incredibly, my barely existent Italian grew to be quite decent over few months, and Massimo and I, instead of just doing the course, ended up talking for hours and hours. We quickly found a common interest in large format photography and darkroom printing. By that time, for a couple of months already, I was printing at school thinking how great it would be to have my own darkroom, yet I had absolutely no equipment and was a student in a city where I knew no one.
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3 May 2016 there are no comments yet

The results of few months of work, fun and stress have finally had their moment, nicely arranged on the wall in the gallery. Seven large format images from 4×5 negatives, darkroom-printed on Ilford Art 300 paper in beautiful thick museum mat boards.

My statement/description:

A moment lost in time, a place lost in space, an object once meaningful, left behind and forgotten.
Nonexistent when unobserved, suddenly becoming substantial, finding its new life inside a frame.

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14 April 2016 there are no comments yet

The big day for which I’ve been working for the past what, two or three months? Has come!

Photography does not finish at the push of a button, neither does it end with a print. Beautifully matted, framed, hanging on the wall – that’s when a photo is at it’s best… or worst, because every single tiny error SHOWS!
I finally printed my dream size, 50×60 (20×24″), on Ilford Fiber Art 300 paper. Only one image though, for the sake of layout on the wall. Two more 40×50 (16×20″), and the rest smaller.

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I am totally in love with the huge prints! But… first discovery: dust gets pretty enormous too! Which is not really a problem when you’re good with your brush and retouching inks… yep, I love retouching. Every extra moment spent with my photographs is pure bliss.
The collection of those moments is currently hanging at the Tethys gallery in Florence, awaiting tomorrow’s opening.

My works, along with three more MFA first-year Photo students.
If anyone is by chance around, DO come! 6 pm, Via dei Vellutini, 17/r. And if you can’t make it, I’ll update my blog with the opening images as soon as I have them!

ps As of next week, after final review,  I will be much more free to finally write here  :)

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