Since 1989, I have been photographing the architectural landscape of Italy, exploring the visual splendor of its religious, public and vernacular structures. These objects are the evidence of patient application of hands on stone, allowing extraordinary things to be created from ordinary materials. Over time, layers of the past and present combine to create something that will remain to be seen in the future.
My photographs are my response to this subtle layering of the ancient and the contemporary in Italian architecture. For me, the buildings, their materials and the light that plays on them not only describe the passage of time but also the sense of proportion, beauty and attention to minute details of life and living for which Italy is justly famous. Though the hands of the men and women who crafted these structures are always visible, I eliminate the physical presence of people in the photographs to place the emphasis on the objects themselves. In this, I am following the documentary tradition in photography, though my objective is to give the images a sense of timelessness, much like the structures themselves possess.
I work with a large format camera for its ability to express nuances of tone and detail as well as for the deliberate actions which the camera requires and which I enjoy. While the camera and the film inside of it are "old" technology, my prints are inkjet. The film is scanned and the images are printed with pigment inks on rag paper, so the 16 by 20 inch prints, like their subjects, exhibit a respectful mixture of the past and the present, with an eye to the future.
Jeff Curto · Program Coordinator / Professor · College of DuPage Photography Program