Ag 57 and Italy



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.


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.


Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Florence


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.


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.

Show update


Well, the show has been printed, stamped, signed and now shipped. These two cases, each weighing just under 40lbs, are what I have to show for it all – about 100 three-colour gum dichromate prints. The next time I see them, they’ll be framed and hanging on the gallery walls.

A quick panorama of the studio walls with myself, Cy and Bernie.


Leaning Tower of Pisa, Illinois

It’s been a busy year.

Early in the year Beth went to Portland, Oregon for the opening of her show at the wonderful Blue Sky Gallery, while I travelled to Pittsburgh to speak at the f295 Symposium and then twice to Florence with Cy DeCosse, organising things for his 2009 show there.

In the summer, Beth and I spent some time driving around the small towns in west-central Wisconsin, gathering material for a collaborative project we’re working on, finally ending up in Chicago for yet another of her projects.

One of the highlights of the year for me had to be in June, when my image Bird’s Nest was published by Jen Bekman‘s 20×200, while for Beth it was probably being flown out to San Francisco for a few days by the nice people at Blurb to receive her $25,000 check for winning the first Photography.Book.Now competition.

As for exhibitions, I had work included in several group shows in Phoenix, New York and Pittsburgh, while November saw Beth’s show open at the Photo Center Northwest. That same month saw Beth and I having a joint show at the Iris Gallery in Boston, which then travelled to their other gallery in Great Barrington, where it will remain until early January 2009.

Beth is already organising several shows for 2009 for which I’ll have to start printing soon, as well as finishing the 100+ 3-colour gum dichromate prints for Cy’s show in Florence. That show will open in October 2009 and will be accompanied by a 3-colour catalogue. And yes, we’ll be there…