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Elements: Stories of Matter

Elements: Stories of Matter

Article by Charlie Myett and Ashley Searing

 

Landscape and Architecture Photography students at FUA presented their beautiful photo exhibit showcasing their theme “Elements: Stories of Matter” which examined the way light changes the view of a landscape.

Eric’s photo collection, entitled Flare, captures the beauty of just that. Flare. Eric is new to the use of a camera and has now sparked quite an interest and appreciation for the art of photography. He first noticed the “luminousness” and “godliness” of the subject matter in flared photos when he witnessed a sunset on the roof of his apartment. This photo is included in his collection. Eric decided to run with this theme and capture flared photos all around Florence.

Ushna has had an interest in photography since the age of 14, and now has an exhibit displayed at Corridoio Fiorentino entitled Essence. Ushna’s photographs were inspired by her interest in architecture and history, which brought her to take the Landscape and Architectural Photography course. The pictures focus on the element of shadows, and Ushna explained that she specifically experimented with abstract angles. She brought a fresh, unknown view and image to the well-aged statues of Florence. She very interestingly connected her perspective as an International Student, as well as an abroad student with the themes of her photos. An “outsider” perspective. One of Ushna’s photographs can also be found on the cover of the exhibit’s flyer and catalog.

Don is originally from North Carolina but has been traveling all over the world since early childhood. Don’s photographs are a continuation of previous work he has done with alternate reality. His collection at Corridoio was entitled Alternate Reality Through Architecture. Don’s previous work still focused on the aspect of alternate reality, though in the form of microphotography. Don shared some of his old work with us, it was truly remarkable. His new work takes this theme of alternate reality and brings it to the larger scale with buildings and landscapes. Don has been surrounded by art and constantly new environments his entire life and has applied his long-developed psychedelic themes to his latest collection.

The event was wonderfully catered by the International School of Hospitality, which served an array of sandwiches, snacks, desserts and beverages.

This photo exhibit will be available for viewing until October 17th, 2018 in Corridoio Fiorentino. 

Handmade

Handmade

Article by Marlo Miller and Antonella Nicolas

 

On Thursday, July 12th, at the main campus of Florence University of the Arts on Corso Tintori, student Natalie Burch presented “Handmade,” a photojournalism exhibition centered around the hands of four Florentine artisans.

Natalie Burch is studying Journalism with a concentration in New Media at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  She said that the photojournalism class at FUA allowed her the freedom to be creative and to immerse herself in the world of local artisans.

Her professor, Marco Gualtieri, wanted students to go beyond the surface of the new culture in order to combine the tools of a journalist and the techniques of a photographer.

“We try to teach the students not just to take pretty pictures, but to take photos that comply with journalistic standards,” Gualtieri said.

The inspiration to center the exhibition around the hands of local artisans stemmed from the relationship Burch had cultivated with Alessio, a butcher at the Mercato Centrale.  Although Burch does not speak Italian, she was able to overcome the language barrier and communicate her desire to capture his craftsmanship with her lens.  This positive experience with Alessio encouraged her to dig deeper into artisan workshops on the streets of Florence, where she interviewed a cobbler, a restorer and a street artist.

“Florence is not just a tourist city, there are so many locals who are willing to show people their crafts,” Burch said.

The artisans were so welcoming that Burch was compelled to adjust the cooler hues of some of the photos in order to reflect the warmth of her interactions with the locals.  She said that it was important to her to highlight the friendliness and hospitality that she was shown.

Baking and Pastry students Emily Nelson and Abby Balota provided the aperitivo for the event, while Event Management student Shanna Liu was responsible for serving drinks. The exhibition was curated by Photography experiential learning students. 

From Picture to Reality

From Picture to Reality: Health and Wellness on the FUA Campus

Photo by Da'Shay Alexander
Article by Hannah Silver and Christina Wainwright

 

Excited laughter rings through the Corso Tintori 21 building from students, volunteers, and professors attending the Health and Wellness event. It is a rainy Thursday, May 3rd, at 6:00PM, and the room’s walls are covered with student photography, graphics, animations, and interior design pieces highlighting the importance of mental and physical well-being and the new initiative Florence University of the Arts plans to roll out in the next semesters to come. These initiatives include more courses in the Health and Wellness department and a new student run spa on campus.


Plenty of aperitif options decorate a white table cloth, but most of the attention of attendees is directed towards the work hanging on the walls--and for good reason. In order to better understand the meaning of the work, we chatted with several of the students.


First, we speak to a girl with blonde curls, a denim jacket and a yellow bandana that ties nicely around her neck. Her name is Isabelle Fall, and she is a video production major from Portland, Maine. She emphasizes that her birds-eye image of model Hannah Sanders was a personal piece for her Fashion Photography course.


We wanted to learn more about any challenges she faced during her project, to which Fall responds, “Honestly, it’s all about timing, especially in these classes where we are asking friends or classmates to be our models and they are doing it for free. It’s really hard to find a time that works for you, the model, and when the weather and light is good for shooting.” Fall justifies that this challenge was worthwhile, claiming she gets a sort of “high from composing things in a way that is pleasing to the eye.”


Fall hopes that first and foremost, audience members understand that fashion photography is not “all about being bougie,” but rather can be “casual and show everyday clothing like athletic wear.”


Perhaps the most interesting thing we grasped from our conversation with the bubbly photographer are her thoughts on the health and wellness field in correlation to photography: “Photography is a very easy to consume and appreciate. For instance, even those who cannot read can understand photography. I think topics in health and wellness are important so using photography to speak about these themes is very important and powerful.” She believes that students studying abroad at FUA may feel as though they are on vacation and may not take care of themselves properly, so the initiative is fundamental to the experience!


Second, we interview Fashion & Design student Da’Shay Alexander, from Seattle, Washington. She is wearing a vibrant yellow shirt to match her positive smile and easy demeanor. She explains her photography was for the Fashion photography course, one of her three fashion classes.


Alexander explains that her piece was chosen out of a pool of around
40 students, and that she was “thrilled” by the opportunity to showcase
her photography of two of her laughing friends. Although it was her first
time working with a camera and the advanced editing programs offered
by FUA, her goal was to “capture joy in [her] pictures by allowing
viewers to see the happiness of the models” in a raw, authentic fashion.
When asked about the importance of authenticity, Alexander laughs
with a witty response: “I want truly authentic, not staged happiness and
positivity.” She hopes that through her photography she can stress the
fundamental emphasis that should be placed on mental wellness, not just physical. She believes the FUA initiative will translate this ability well to students.


Katherine Casswell from Frankland, Massachusetts, is also at the event showcasing her artwork of a girl exercising jubially. She studies photography at home, so it was a natural choice for her to study in Florence, she explains. Her photograph mirrors her concept of “movement” which she says ties back to the overarching concept of health and wellness.


When asked what her biggest challenge was during the project, Caswell responds with a laugh: “Well, with this rainy weather we have been seeing in Florence, finding a sunny day to match the positive theme of the event was by far the biggest trial for me!”


Caswell stresses the importance of being active, claiming it to be a fun way to destress and self-empower! In her image of the girl jumping, she tries to capture the idea that athletes seem to capture the very essence of what it means to be “full of life.” As an FUA student, Caswell believes that the health and wellness initiative will allow students a well-rounded balance to their potentially busy schedules.


Beyond what was conveyed through their beautiful photographs,
speaking with the talented students gave real insight about the importance of health and wellness, both in general and on the FUA campus in particular. FUA is a university that draws countless international students per semester. Often times, it becomes easy to forget about mental and physical wellness as students become wrapped up in the abroad experience. Expressed by the beautifully composed photographs, an individual’s mental and physical wellness is crucial and should never be neglected! The introduction of classes and amenities that promote health and wellness is an exciting addition to the university.

A Combination of Fashion and Photography

A Combination of Fashion and Photography

By Amanda Torrisi 
Photo by Angel Pelaez

 

FUA’s Introduction to Fashion Photography course is based on the technical, cultural, visual, and historical aspects of fashion photography. This introductory seminar teaches students the technical and logistical aspects of fashion photography using natural light and light basic metering. 

 Angel Pelaez took the FUA Introduction to Fashion Photography course and spoke about his experience. 

 

Is this your first photography class?

 

This is my first photography class but I’ve been doing photography on my own for five years now as a hobby. 

 

What made you interested in fashion photography?

 

My interest for fashion photography comes from my interest in both fashion and photography. Through the seminar, I was able to combine these two passions and produce a body of work that could be used for editorials or product photographs. 

 

What inspires your work?

 

My personal work is inspired by my experience with intersectionality that allows me to explore various sides of my identity. I like to start discussions with my work about Latinidad and ultimately dig deeper into the psyche exploring vulnerability and queerness.

 

How has this class helped your work to evolve?

 

This class has helped me refine my portfolio due to the weekly assignments that allow me to practice the craft. Especially using friends as muses has been exciting to be able to feature them in my work. 

 

Would you recommend this class to others and why?

 

I would recommend this class to a beginner because the course does its best to guide you through the essentials of using a camera. 

 

Do you have a personal statement about your work that we could include with the photographs?

 

This shoot was rewarding because I’m very much used to shooting outside. Having a studio allowed me to experiment with the model and push the boundaries of the space through poses and movement. The experience solidified my passion for merging photography and fashion. Beauty is everywhere, most importantly in the details. And that translates to life; it’s in the simple things that magic lies. 

 

 

Future editions of this course can be consulted at the FUA academic schedule.

Silver Lining

Silver Lining

By Margaret Haynie

 

‘Seeing the silver lining’ is the expression used to describe finding the light even in the darkest circumstance. The film used for film photography contains silver particles, and while the process is hard work, it pays off with a beautiful piece of artwork. On the evening of March 15th, 2018, the intermediate film photography students at Florence University of the Arts displayed their work from the semester so far. The wide range of work was intriguing and showed off each student’s talent and uniqueness. The students Gregg Casazza, Jenna Johnson, Lara Kranny, and Lauren Reheuser all had their work included in the exhibit.

 

In Corridoio Fiorentino, two intriguing displays were set up: one showing the actual film used in film photography, and one showing the process of developing photos. The event was catered by students of the Apicius Culinary Arts School at FUA, who served a delicious Aperitivo and champagne. To begin the night, the Intermediate Film Photography professor, Marco Gualtieri, introduced his students and gave a little insight into the film photography process. He states that working with film photography is a way to “slow down from the digital world,” and is an art in which you embrace the accidents.

 

Jenna Johnson, a student from Michigan, exhibited her series named ‘Florence Unobserved’ and captured life in Florence while no one was watching. Jenna said she wanted to explore her appreciation of the less obvious beauty in Florence, and really focus on the unnoticed aspects of the city. She enjoys film photography because, “every picture, no matter what you take, turns into art.”

 

Lauren Reheuser, of Virgina, went in a different direction with her series which focused on working with double exposures. This is a process where you take multiple photographs, choose two that are somewhat similar, and place them on top of each other to then be developed. It is not until the piece is finished that you know what it will look like, and Lauren enjoys the element of surprise that this process entails. Lauren also said that she likes that the double exposure process requires patience and work, unlike the immediate results of digital photography.

 

This night of the Silver Lining opening was special— guests got to witness the rekindling of the lost art of film photography, and see the unique passion each student has. The event staff, artists, and guests were incredibly friendly, and it made for a very enjoyable evening.

 

Future editions of this course can be consulted at the FUA academic schedule.

Written in the Stars

Written in the Stars

By Hannah Hayes & Leah Greenberg

Photo by Authors

 

On Thursday, February 15th, the works of four students were showcased in “Written In the Stars,” an exhibit presented by the Florence University of the Arts’ Advanced Filmmaking class in the Corrido Fiorentino of Corso Tintori 21. The students’ original films were presented while complementary aperitivo was served by the FUA School of Hospitality. Diverse attendees including FUA faculty, students, and local community members gathered to enjoy the student works. The director of experiential learning at FUA stated he was thrilled to see such a good turnout, and appreciates the community’s support.

 

The assignment: to write and film the opening credits for a fictional movie of the student’s own design. The filmmakers each developed an interpretation of the prompt and portrayed their unique storytelling styles. “It was not an easy proposal, but I’m really pleased with the results,” said class instructor Roberto Fassone.

 

Tiffany Cline, like many of the students, drew inspiration for her film from her experiences in Florence, but differentiated her piece by framing the opening scenes as though they were being viewed through an iPhone. Her self-inspired work, titled A Girl in Firenze, depicts the beginning of a girl’s journey of self-discovery in Florence. As is true with many artistic projects, her final product came out differently than the original plan, but Tiffany is happy with her decisions in the filmmaking process.

 

Olivia Weber used a personal story for her film. Her project, To Be Together, tells the harrowing true story of her grandparents’ journey when they fell in love in a Holocaust internment camp, and overcame numerous obstacles to be together. Olivia used only real photos and video clips from her grandparents to tell the emotional story.

 

Angel Peleaz’s film, Bad Religion, is based off of the Ancient Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. He subverts the original myth’s obsession with an objectification of the female form by making his story about same-sex love. According to Angel, “this film is a combination of what is abstract and what is real to me,” as he explores the shackles of unrequited love.

 

The opening credits to Taina Dominguez’ More Than Just Us begins with a story of mystery and adventure as four American girls stumble upon portraits of themselves while they explore a museum in Florence. “Part of the story is true,” said Taina. “There are four of us living here studying abroad. We were walking through the Pitti Palace museum and I thought, ‘What if we walked into a room and saw ourselves?’”

 

“We decided to call the event Written In The Stars because altogether we found that all of the projects were connected by themes of fate and destiny,” said Roberto. All four of the students’ impressive short films were inspired by the filmmakers’ real life experiences, but all four films are also linked by the lack of a narrative conclusion. The viewers are left with a feeling that even as destiny may guide people, the ending is still unknown. “The ending is definitely a question mark,” said Tiffany. “There’s no conclusion - at least not yet. This project has definitely intrigued something new within me.”

 

Future editions of this course can be consulted at the FUA academic schedule.

1968 Where Have all the Flowers Gone

1968 Where Have all the Flowers Gone

By Adele Haraughty 

Photo by Claire Buckley

 

Thursday, December 7th at Corridoio Fiorentino, the student gallery of the Department of Photography of Florence University of the Arts (FUA), opened 1968 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Reflections on the 1960’s an exhibition featuring students in the Intermediate Digital Photography, Interior Design and Lighting Design classes.

 

Ceara Thompson, an Intermediate Digital Photography student, talked about her beautiful photographs on iconic characters in the 1960’s. “I wanted to focus on prominent female roles that were extremely inspiring,” Thompson said. Her photographs were from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Belle De Jour. The idea was to show characters that had strong leading roles.

 

The Intermediate Digital Photography class, taught by Marco Gualtieri, was involved in the FUA 2017 Conference 1968 Where Have all the Flowers Gone? Photos were selected from those who presented for this panel. Intermediate Interior Design, taught by Giulio Vinci, and Lighting Design, taught by Claudio Rodeghiero, students worked together on a Bar Cafeteria project using the theme of the Radical Design movement as inspiration and reinterpretation.

 

The 1968 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Reflection on the 1960’s exhibition included a wide variety of photographs. Beginning level courses were also included from the classes of Street Photography, Introduction to Digital Photography, Introduction to Fashion Photography, Introduction to Photography: From Darkroom to Digital, Digital Graphic Illustration and Introduction to Interior Design. It was clear that the students worked extremely hard throughout the semester and it was great to be able to see first-hand what they were able to accomplish.

Florence Between Sky and Earth

Remnants

By Jane Fochler 

Photo by Melissa Kreider

 

Thursday, November 16th from 6-9 at CORRIDOIO FIORENTINO, the student gallery of the Department of Photography of Florence University of the Arts (FUA), the REMNANTS exhibition opened featuring portrait photographs taken by Melissa Kreider.

 

Remnants is an exploration of the successes or failures of the reactionary structures that are responsible for engaging victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The photographs range from sites of sexual and domestic assault, the sexual assault evidence collection kits survivors have to endure, to the backlog of rape kits in police evidence rooms, the crime labs in which this kits are tested, and finally the survivors themselves. All of these aspects create a complicated and intimidating maze of steps a survivor may maneuver if they choose to rely on the justice system for assistance. This work does not serve to trigger or create a negative response, but exists as photographic evidence of the reality many face when assaulted. Melissa Kreider has considered the idea of her Remnants project since her undergraduate work as she feels a very personal connection to the subject matter after her own experience with sexual assault.

 

Kreider explains “in her collection the photograph that stands out to me the most is the photo of the woman holding a polaroid picture of her bruises and marks from being abused because it is very graphic and the colors are all working together to make this beautiful photo out of something terrible which is what I do a lot.” She also explains that usually at her events she starts the conversation with her photos, but recent discussions worldwide and in Florence revolving around sexual assault immediately generated the conversation on the show theme.

 

Kreider is pleased with the reactions to her Remnants project thus far, she feels it has opened the door to many good conversations. She hopes people will begin to understand what victims of domestic or sexual abuse have been through and that through her work others may see that survivors remained in situations of domestic abuse for financial reasons or because they have children, or the believe the abuser will change.

Florence Between Sky and Earth

Florence: Between Sky and Earth Exhibition

By Jane Fochler and Adele Haraughty 

Photo: Top, Jennifer Persichilli; Bottom, Breanna Black

 

Day after day Florence displays itself to its vast number of visitors projecting a picturesque image of the city. On September 21 at Corridoio Florentino, the student gallery of the Department of Photography of Florence University of the Arts (FUA), opened the FLORENCE BETWEEN SKY AND EARTH exhibition. At the event, Jennifer Persichilli and Breanna Black of the intermediate level Landscape and Architectural Photography class of fall 2017 taught by professor Marco Gualtieri challenged the cliché of the beautiful renaissance city exploring unusual point of views. Day after day Florence displays itself to its vast number of visitors projecting a picturesque image of the city. On September 21 at Corridoio Florentino, the student gallery of the Department of Photography of Florence University of the Arts (FUA), opened the FLORENCE BETWEEN SKY AND EARTH exhibition. At the event, Jennifer Persichilli and Breanna Black of the intermediate level landscape and architecture photography class of fall 2017 taught by professor Marco Gualtieri challenged the cliché of the beautiful renaissance city exploring unusual point of views. 


Jennifer Persichilli explained how she had always shot landscape and portrait photographs but she rarely shot abstract photos. This assignment challenged her photography skills by making her take a closer look at the details surrounding her. She explained, “I wanted to capture the not so typical postcard version of Florence by focusing more on contrasting colors, shapes, shadows and objects that are typical in everyday life from a different point of view.” For the exhibition, Persichillis’ displayed photos that take a closer look at the landscapes around Florence that often go unseen.


The second photographer, Breanna Black had never done abstract photography before. Through this experience she was able to learn about different exposures that create different moods which helped her photographs appear dark and rich with the clarity of reflection. “I made it my mission to find all of the reflections in Florence. I wanted to show a completely different side, showing that it’s actually where people live.” Black said. At the event, Black had a display of photographs that captured Florence and all its beauty through reflections in puddles. Her display challenged the audience to look at the ground that people walk on, but still capture the beauty of Florence through a reflection.


Through looking at Florence from a unique point of view, the students were able to capture a different side of this historic city. The viewers were then engaged in a visual journey that developed from surreal reflections to vertiginous sights.

Faces

Faces

By Adele Haraughty and Jane Fochler

Photo by Simone Ballerini

 

This past Thursday, October 19th at Corridoio Fiorentino, the student gallery of the Department of Photography at Florence University of the Arts, opened the FACES exhibition featuring portrait photographs taken by Simone Ballerini.

 

Simone Ballerini is a commercial lifestyle photographer based in Florence, Italy. He began photographing using the most basic natural/available light, then he wanted to represent his subject in a more professional, artistic way so he began learning everything he could about recognizing great light and the use of flash. Simone Ballerini has always been drawn to portraits, “Since my first snapshots I started noticing that a person, a face would always be the reason why I raised the camera to my eye and that I couldn’t take a decent landscape picture if my life depended on it.”

 

During the event, Simone Ballerini explained the meaning behind his photographs. Each photograph represents a personal portrait of someone who was brought into his life for a reason, which includes present and past relationships, and people in his life that he has shared great stories with. Ballerini explains that portraits have always been his first love, ever since that moment, he knew that shooting portraits was what he was meant to do.

 

Ballerini said that his most memorable portrait from this photography exhibition was the photo of his Grandmother with the apple on her head. She passed away last year and was always willing to help him with his photography whether it be to try new lighting or poses.

 

The FACES exhibition included a variety of portraits with a personal meaning behind each photo.

Simone Ballerini showed his passion for photography through each individual portrait.

Acero Photography Exhibition by Anastassia Sciaraffia

Acero Photography Exhibition by Anastassia Sciaraffia

 

By the FUA PR Strategies Student Team

Photo: Struggle, Digital Print by Anastassia Sciaraffia

 

The ACERO Solo Exhibit featured photographs from FUA student Anastassia Sciaraffia. The solo photography exhibition opened on April 13, 2017 at CORRIDOIO FIORENTINO, the student gallery of the Department of Photography of Florence University of the Arts. 

 

Anastassia Sciaraffia started formal photography studies at Florence University of the Arts in 2015. Before coming to FUA, she studied Digital Animation in Chile for two years. From storyboarding she has learnt that people and photography go hand in hand, for Anastassia in fact the photographic images are stills of fluxes of thoughts, sometimes crystal clear, and at times blurred. She thinks photography and art merge, and they are just two out of the many languages that human beings can use to understand and to interpret the complexity of culture. 

 

ACERO revolved around some of the concepts that Sciaraffia found most prominent in the novel Swimming with Elba - innocence, courage, growth, rifts and crisis. The photographs were taken in multiple spots around Italy, as well as in her home country of Chile.  

 

"My professor actually recommended the book [Swimming with Elba] to me…from there I took some of the ideas and built on the concept of innocence," Sciaraffia said. She hopes to collaborate with other photographers in the future and "build on her skills." 

 

The full exhibition catalog can be viewed online.

 

ACERO

April 13th to May 2nd, 2017

Corridoio Fiorentino-DIVA-School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts 

Via Magliabechi 1

 

Emotion Video Exhibit by DIVA Students

EMOTION VIDEO EXHIBIT BY DIVA STUDENTS

By FUA PR Strategies Students

 

FUA Students Capture Raw Emotions at their Videomaking Showcase.

 

On Thursday February 16th, 2017 the students from FUA in the Advanced Videomaking and Post-Production class put on their first event. The event went off without a hitch, with each of the four students in the class creating and directing their own video project. They had a selection of four emotions: anger, fear, love and happiness. The event was held in the FUA DIVA building where friends, faculty, staff, and non-FUA guests came to support the featured students. The work produced was the final project of their three-week intensive video production class.

 

The event was held in the Corridoio Fiorentino where the students’ films were displayed in black & white and full-color versions along the hallway. The guests were able to walk around and check out the videos and talk to the students before the presentation.

 

Before the viewing party, each of the student filmmakers discussed which emotion they picked and the inspiration behind it. Anastasia Sciaraffa described how she challenged herself by picking one of the harder emotions, fear. “I always thought it is more difficult picking a really happy thing or a really scary thing so I went with fear because I like a challenge”.

 

As FUA events always involve a multidisciplinary collaboration between various departments and courses, the catered refreshments also represented FUA coursework to showcase the culinary students of Apicius. For each FUA event involving catering operations, select Apicius classes strategize the tasting menu according to the event and venue type. The tasting items for this exhibit featured a wide variety of finger sandwiches including a crowd favorite with roasted pork, aioli sauce, and freshly baked bread. They also prepared salads such as an anchovy version, served along side a cup of minced broccoli with rice and lemon juice on top of a cauliflower blend cream. For dessert, sugar cookies, brownies, a pistachio pudding, and fruit tarts were served.

 

After the food and viewing, we had the chance to sit down and talk with some of the artists and the audience to gage their reactions. Each student expressed confidence in their pieces, sharing that despite the three-week deadline and working on fully self-planned and produce creative videos for the first time, the entire class was extremely proud of sharing the results with the exhibit guests.

 

Each artist was able to put his or own spin on the video by drawing from their individual strengths and specialties. Garret Day, in his fifth semester here at FUA, described his passion for music by stating, “Music is really important and I connected it to emotions I felt would be easier to portray (love) with certain songs that I have heard many times.” Garret is also excited for his own upcoming solo show where he will display all of his projects as his senior showcase.

Bill Foley Interview

Interview with Photographer Bill Foley

By Amber Wright
Photo courtesy of Bill Foley

 

Photographer Bill Foley has spent his life capturing iconic moments around the world. Known for his Pulitzer Prize winning series of a refugee camp in Lebanon and his iconic last shot of the assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Foley is no stranger to the art of photojournalism. Foley captured the relationship between newsworthy photography and artistic styles in his 2015 gallery titled “Art Meets News,” highlighting how curators are now seeing the beauty in photographs once only meant for magazines.

Foley now teaches at Marian University overseeing the studio and darkroom and teaching all photography classes in the Visual and Creative Art Department. During FUA’s October seminar week, Foley will be leading the one-day seminar on the “Light of Florence and Tuscany.” To get to know him and his style, we caught up with Foley and asked him a few questions.

To start with a few technical questions, how do you decide what photographs are in color or in black and white?
There were many factors that impacted the choice of color vs. black and white back in the day, now in the digital world, one can do both at the same time!

What are your feelings about cropping? Especially in reference to photojournalistic styles and keeping the integrity of what is happening in the image.
There is nothing wrong with cropping an image.

In your seminar you will be discussing equipment - what is your go to equipment and what can you not leave the house without?
Regarding Equipment, I use Canon cameras and lenses for the most part, and I do believe in keeping things simple. I have been advising photographers to use “prime” lenses vs. zoom lenses. I went back to my beginning a number of years ago and for the most part, have only used prime lenses - primarily a 50mm on a full frame digital body. The 50mm lens provides the same view as the human eye does.

Have you had a moment in your career that has stood out above the rest? Have you had a favorite photograph?
There are many moments that stand out over the past nearly 40 years and it would be hard to pick, but there are two days that have particular significance - Oct 6th, 1981, 35 years ago when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated and October 23, 1983 when the US Marines serving as peacekeepers in Beirut were the victims of truck bomb that drove into the Marine base at Beirut International airport - 241 US Marines died in the blast.

There are stories of times you’ve had a gun to your head - how do you find the courage to stay in the area and keep taking photos?
It’s what we do, and while there have been a few “heart stopping” moments, I believed it was more important to tell the stories than not.

 

Garry Winogrand suggests for photographers to emotionally detach themselves from their images. Do you agree with him, especially shooting in war zones?  
I find it impossible to believe that one can do really good work if one is detached. Photographers and writers are human, and I believe that being human is what makes the work valuable.

Foley’s seminar will be on October 27th at 9am. To sign up, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles from Italy

Chronicles from Italy: Alessandro de Angelis

Reported by the FUA Communications & Marketing Office, with the contributions of Allyson Arrigo
Photo courtesy of Alessandro de Angelis

 

Chronicles from Italy is an Italian photography and news blog produced by industry professionals. We caught up with director Alessandro de Angelis to chat about this digital project as well as a photo essay of the Chinese Italian community produced by FUA alum Susu Yan, which was published on the site this year.

 

How was the Chronicles from Italy blog born? Tell us about yourself and why you decided to start this project.
AD: Chronicles from Italy was born in 2011 as a Tumblr photo blog. As someone who’s passionate about photography, the platform was an outlet for me to collect and share what I encountered and what moved me. Slowly but surely, telling stories simply through images wasn’t enough: I have a degree in modern literature and my profession is writing (I’m the editorial director of the monthly magazine Il Giornale della Vela). I began to alternate photo posts with texts and stories. Tumblr began to seem limited so I moved over to Wordpress, initially with a very basic layout. As of this year, Chronicles took on its current, more complex layout. As I observed its growth, I realized that there was no way to run the blog as a one-man operation and that it was the right moment to transition into something more.

 

The site covers both photo stories and news articles, what is the overall message and objective of the site?
AD: The object was self-generated. When I realized that Chronicles had the potential to become something more, I contacted friends and professionals from various industries such as art-music-photography-tourism to ask if they were interested in writing based on their specific backgrounds. There was only one rule, each post had to be about Italy. We don’t write about current news in a strict sense unless we’re dealing with particular situations such as the black bloc attack during the Expo because most of us live in Milan and we were all affected in some way by the incident. Our true objective is to shed light on the unique things, beauty, places, and stories that others don’t recount. We aim to do this constantly and with our individual points of view. Thus our stories are absolutely personal.

 

What are some emerging themes and issues that have become increasingly important for the website to cover?
AD: The most popular posts revolve without a doubt around travel and unusual facts, however this is an unwritten rule of Internet. On the other hand, we’re seeing a growth in interest towards personal students especially about the youth, from what we gather on our social media channels. I believe that a reason for this audience response is the optimism of the perspective featured in our articles. We want to give positive signals: we’re already buried under a surplus of tearjerker news but there are tons of positive examples and messages that we can launch.

 

In terms of the photography field, what types of stories and reportage do you usually cover?
AD: Photography and art occupy an important area on Chronicles for various reasons. First and foremost, images have a strong impact on the web that words rarely garner. This is valid for any type of article, from travel pieces to news, poetry, and music. In fact, travel reporting has been up till now the most highly covered section.

 

The site recently published a photo project by a former FUA student, Susu Yan, based on the Chinese community in Prato. Can you tell us what the experience was like to collaborate with a university student?
AD: The collaboration with Susu began thanks to her instructor at FUA, Simone Pierotti. I’ve known Simone for several years and when he saw Chronicles he told me that some of his students had produced some interesting photo projects. They were exactly what I seek for the site: new, fresh, and original stories that give value to young individuals and expose their work. Susu’s project particularly struck me for a reason. She was able to enter a secret world hidden to our eyes, and she accomplished this feat in an extremely delicate manner. The project is not the denouncement of a social situation. It is considered “reportage” as per the ancient definition of the term: to bring back and relate something from a journey, from a place that one visits. A rare gift.

 

FUA intern Allyson Arrigo caught up with Susu Yan to get her perspective on the project. As a Beijing native and university student in the United States, Susu wanted to portray and discuss the lesser known, but not small in size, Chinese immigrant community in Prato, Italy as her class project. What she didn’t expect was to be featured on a well-known and noteworthy photography blog, Chronicles of Italy.

 

Yan’s professor, Simone Pierotti told the photography blog that he was surprised by Yan’s tenacity and perseverance because of her quiet demeanor.

 

“I was sure that after a couple of tries she would change her mind,” Pierotti said. “However, week after week, she began to carve a path into a reality that is difficult to penetrate.”

 

Yan, who focused her work on the Chinese immigrants, also surprised herself and she says she is now sure of what she wants to make a career of.

 

“I am going to do meaningful projects, document things that need to be remembered, and to prove all that beautiful things, warm hearts, and love all exist,” Yan said about her feeling towards to her project and the people she connected to. “That is my wish for my whole life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger Danger

“Stranger Danger”: Always the Case?

Neeka Matthews
Photo by the author

 

After growing up thinking all strangers could potentially lead to danger, completing an assignment given to me by a photography course, which included the requirement of talking to strangers, was out of my ease.

 

“Posso fare la tua foto?” I asked, “Di me? Sì!” the woman responded, as she giggled with an overwhelming feeling of adulation. I had just asked a woman I had not known, sitting solo outside on a bench, if I could take her picture.

 

To venture outside of your own comfort zone and see a new perspective from a different set of eyes is an experience that has crossed my very own path. When enrolling in the Street Photography course at FUA, I had not known what to expect as a newcomer to photography aside from casual portraits of friends and nature. Being asked to take pictures of people on the street, people I did not know and have never talked to before, was a request that presented a challenge.

 

What I have learned the most about living in Firenze and attending FUA is that the life I am used to living is far from what I would now be living in. This is not a negative factor, but rather a fresh insight into the real world – a world unlike my own. I would have never thought to ask strangers, not to mention who don't speak the same language as me, if I could take their portrait. I can now say that I have.

 

Although rejections were in the cards during my portrait requests for the assignment, I came across some incredible people. I encountered one gentleman, who first responded to my request in Italian, and then English. It turned out that he and his family were from Malta, the southern European island country, and they were in Firenze to visit his brother-in-law. Through his fluent command of English, I learned a bit about his past and his current life.

 

From being asked to take portraits of strangers for the initial goal of my class agenda, I had initially low expectations for a satisfactory completion. However, after stepping out of my comfort zone, I recognized that talking to people I never would have thought to talk to before was something I experienced as an achievement. This moment completely impacted my views of the new lifestyle I was tuning into, and also how FUA's educational perspective of accomplishment seeks to bring us beyond our normal routine and undertake something new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2014 Faculty Exhbit

Fall 2014 Faculty Exhbit

Featured DIVA faculty work: Prof. Jacopo Santini’s “La Guglia” exhibition was held in Fall 2014 at the Ganzo art gallery. The show featured photographs taken in the La Guglia area of the city of Livorno, which represents an intact example of the urban planning that took place during Mussolini’s regime. Santini’s lens focus on a De Chirico-like and surreal atmosphere that surrounds the neighborhood. The photos can be viewed in the digital catalog.

 

 

 

 

 

DIVA Students Design Wine Labels

DIVA Students Design Wine Labels

Two DIVA visual communication students were recently named the winners of a wine label design project in collaboration with the wine producer Azienda Agricola Vinicollina Tesini located in the Veneto Region. Samantha Celek and Niccole Ciccone created the front and back labels selected by the producer for the next phase of product packaging development. The project was commissioned by David Tesini, owner of Azienda Agricola Vinicollina Tesini. The company produces in the wine denomination DOCG Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, and the geographic area of reference is in the runnings to become the first viticulture-specific world heritage site of UNESCO. The design students analyzed and created a potential bottle and label presentation of a Brut-style prosecco (fa' BRIO) and a rosé spumante (Lila, after David's granddaughter) that the company is developing for the US wine market.

 

The involved course (Visual Communication, second level) was split into two working groups by Prof. Ivka Markovic. Each group was assigned a distinct project - the wine label project and a city logo project. The subdivision allowed for the groups to critique each other in order to keep projects fresh, interesting, and involving for the entire class. Andrea Hringsdottir, Brian Potopowicz, Nicole Ciccone, Samantha Celek, and Yuchi Chen began with very personal interpretations of the products, encouraged by Prof. Markovic in order to present an increased diversity to the client and, upon client feedback, continued with an in-depth exploration of the design. After the first draft phase and positive client feedback, students easily moved into the second phase of editing and revision. Interaction with Mr. Tesini took place digitally due to his location in the US. The class organized their designs with explanatory statements accompanied by graphic elements and layout to further assist with the interpretation of proposals.

 

Prof. Markovic states that the two winners "gave very different solutions but knew the market, thanks to their common bond to the US where Lila and fa' BRIO will be sold." In terms of the overall experience, Mr. Tesini noted that "the students have done a fantastic job and I sure hope that they will continue to use what they have learned."

 

The portfolio of all participating students can be viewed here.

 

Cover photo: Courtesy of DIVA. Bottles on left designed by Nicole Ciccone, on right designed by Samantha Celek.

 

 

 

 

 

Onur Ozen / Florence: A City Diary

Onur Ozen / Florence: A City Diary

It’s all about walking, in search of something that may not possibly be there. I meld into the city,  I come face to face with changes as I move about as I build up my own city through my camera. These are some of the "offsprings” of one year of my life spent in Florence. A year of retreat and voluntary (and sometimes involuntary) estrangement to everybody and everything around.

 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://divaflorence.it/Stories/2015/#sigProGalleria554f7ecc9d

click the image to view a slideshow

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIVA Students Design Logo for Town

DIVA Students Design Logo for Italian Town

A recent collaboration with the local community resulted in the creation of the official logo for the Italian city Gaiole in Chianti. DIVA course Visual Communication Design Fundamentals Studio II, taught by Ivka Markovic, was approached by the mayor of Gaiole with the specific design request to renew the city logo. The course's regular goals include the teaching of conceptual skills and practical knowledge in the effective application of visual communication disciplines. Prof. Markovic adds that the course "revolves around problem-solving through research, concept development, design including both layout and editing phases, and a strong emphasis on professional critique." Students applied these course approaches to a professional design project that was evaluated step-by-step by Gaiole in Chianti. Prof. Markovic is interviewed here about the experience.

 

Prof. Markovic, what was the end goal of the Gaiole project?

 

The project served as a perfect platform for students not just as means to fulfilling our course objectives, but to take it beyond and experience real professional atmosphere: dealing with a (unique) client, understanding the creative brief, research of the real historical and contemporary setting of the client represented, strict and tight deadlines, and finally, the challenge of extracting the most important aspects of information given and delivering it back to client in the form of a minimalist logo. Our end goal was providing the Comune of Gaiole with a number of well-executed and conceptually strong commercial logo solutions to choose from.

 

Can you describe the work phases involved?

 

In the first phase, students were introduced to the material. Before visiting Gaiole, they conducted the necessary research and prepared their questions, as well as preliminary sketches. In Gaiole, they received a creative brief, historical, social, and cultural background of the town. In the second phase, students were instructed to develop their concepts (3 each) to critique in class prior to presenting the first draft to the client. This was the difficult phase, as we were dealing with a large amounts of unfamiliar information. We did one class critique and brainstorming session which helped to prepare the first drafts. After the first client critique in the final stage, students transitioned into editing and revisions, and prepared a presentation of 4 final designs for the client.

 

Tell us about the creative approaches and local contextualization applied.

 

We were able to visit Gaiole to personally experience the client. The intense research that followed worked well as base for inspiration. When the students had reached the gathering point of all data, the occasional sense of feeling overwhelmed and grappling with info hierarchy was eased by group discussions employing the process of elimination. They were guided to find the most important aspects within the creative brief as well as the information given. With the remaining facts, they easily formed an informational hierarchy, a perfect base for their conceptual development - the client was in fact pleased at the first critique.

 

What was the interaction between the class and the city like?

 

Students embraced the town of Gaiole at first sight and the visit was crucial for their work. The group also had to present the first draft to the mayor at the FUA campus, after which the final critique was conducted through Skype. Both critiques went quite well! The town granted certificates for the entire group and artwork for the finalists.
From an instructor's perspective, what are some highlights/milestones reached during the project?
Creating a visual identity for any client is a challenging task. Creating an identity in a classroom setting with a very limited timeframe and for a town representing the Chianti area is a daunting task, both for students and the instructor. This was demonstrated during the first phase where most students may have felt intimidated by the real-life project, tight deadlines, quantity of information, and lack of experience. Once they were allowed to relax and brainstorm within a group setting, I saw their shells "crack open" and ready to deliver truly creative solutions. I was quite impressed.

 

DIVA participating students: Richard Alvarez Cruz, Samantha Celek, Nicole Ciccone, Mikaela Fortuny, Andrea Hringsdottir, Ramzi Maalouf, Olga Makarova, Sujani Munamalpe, Brian Potopowicz.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Photography at CF

Classic Photography at Corridoio Fiorentino

From April 7th to April 17th, the Corridoio Fiorentino will host an open viewing of classic photography projects developed by Spencer Sisselman and Nikki Visciglia. Guided by DIVA instructor Enrica Quaranta's Intermediate Classic Photography course, Spencer and Nikki used the world of portraiture as a starting point to create diverse expressions. Spencer's works, entitled Gioventù (youth), are an on-going exploration of portraits taken with a large format camera that requires a meticulous and often laborious approach. The theme, which focuses on Italy's contemporary youth, is an interesting contrast to the photographic method similar to the ones used at the beginning of the 1900s. His subjects are shot with the same composition; the film is developed in the FUA darkroom and requires a carefully balance use of the dodging and burning techniques to achieve the desired photographic contrasts. Nikki, on the other hand, was inspired by the storytelling elements of Vivian Maier, and used different formats for her portraits including 6x6 and the classic 35mm. The usage of the two formats varies according to the subject matter and storytelling approach of Nikki's images. The larger format is largely used for more intimate self portraits in which time seems to slow down while the versatile 35mm is used for faster-paced and peripheral images that tie into the overall story. Her film development employs the layout method that integrates blank spaces and pauses that may alternate with words and texts in order to guide the viewer towards a specific direction. All works are printed on high-quality baryta fiber fine art paper, which requires longer development times.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuttotoscana 2015

Tuttotoscana 2015

Considering a career in art direction? A new short program opportunity for DIVA students combines Florence-NYC locations and features real-life art direction opportunities. TuttoToscana is FUA’s 1 or 4-week fall academic program starting with 3 weeks of courses in Florence and a final week in NYC. The NYC week features gastronomic and cultural events based on Tuscan themes at prestigious locations such as the James Beard Foundation, where the FUA student-faculty team produce and are fully in charge of four distinct special events. The Art Direction program area of TuttoToscana involves students in graphic design, photography, and videography roles in order to gain a professional experience in event coverage. Find out more at the TuttoToscana 2015 program page at the FUA site.

 

 

 

 

 

Videomaking Faculty Juri Ciani

Videomaking Faculty Juri Ciani

Faculty member Juri Ciani teaches video production and editing courses at DIVA. In the below interview he cites significant moments of learning, professional growth, and inspiration throughout his career as a photographer and videographer.

 

Tell us about your background.

I studied scenography at the Accademica delle Belle Arti in Florence and my current career is without a doubt a natural progression of my university years. I subsequently got into photo reporting with a particular focus on social themes thanks to travels in Asia and Africa that refined my approach to image storytelling. One Middle East trip in particular produced some of my best portfolio images, taken during a bus journey from Damascus (Syria) to Beirut (Lebanon). My “terradiconfine” site represents an on-going series of photo reportage: I published two books about living conditions in Malawi (2008) and the earthquake aftermath in Aquila (2010), and produced photo reports for the La Repubblica newsletter and the La Feltrinelli publishing house on the Chinese student population in Florence and the “Caos Sublime” exhibition, respectively.

 

Describe your teaching method.

It’s developed as two layers: On one hand, I always suggest a theme to develop for the entire group because it’s important to examine how final project projects produce various points of view and infinite shades of creativity. I require students from the beginning to descend upon the streets of Florence and become acquainted with the people who live and work there. The other part of my method is to focus students’ attention on a tool that will help them to give substance to the images that they perceive. It doesn’t matter which type of application is used to edit a video, what counts is that it becomes a natural extension of the body when it’s used. When we breathe, for example, we don’t stop to think, “I’m using my lungs to breathe.” And above all, I seek to teach my students how to astound themselves and others through the work that they produce.

 

Can you name some professional experiences that have proved to be useful for teaching?

At the beginning of my career, I met two individuals who bent over backwards to teach me what they knew. I thought I’d return the favor by doing the same with my students. On the other hand, I also realized that as an instructor, I myself learn from the experience and this was an another reason to continue.

 

What types of projects are you working on now?

I’m working on several commercial videos, especially in the fashion industry. I recently completed two important video projects. One was done for Ferragamo and will be used worldwide, and the other was completed for the auction house Casa d’Aste Pandolfini for its 90th anniversary. As for personal projects, I’m working on a short film adapted from the book Cecità written by the Nobel prize author José Saramago.

 

What are some important changes that are happening in your industry?

New development in my field is primarily based on the evolution of technology and language. The first case is accompanied by a price decrease and the subsequent access to a substrata of technology for a growing number of individuals who would’ve otherwise had to grapple with video production using more rudimental tools. Thus rapid technological evolution has brought about an increase in the languages and codes used to create stories that represent images such as photographic reportage, music and commercial video clips, short films, feature films, etc. It’s definitely exciting to work with these new forms. On the other hand, a trend that I find perplexing is the use of “vintage” filters that add an analogical look to photos shot with high-tech smart phones.

 

Based on what you teach, what’s the core advice that you would give to your students
1. Ride the wave.
2. Share your knowledge and information. An interesting tale goes like this: Two friends exchanged a coin, then they each remained with a coin. Two friends exchanged an idea, then they each remained with two ideas.
3. Write a report about everything you do during production time.
4. Don’t forget the poetry that surrounds you. Great things live in small things and vice versa.
5. Never forget nature. The sun, moon, clouds, stones, animals, flowers, etc.

 

Name important figures in your field and in other disciplines that have most inspired you.

For photography, Josef Koudelka, the Czech photographer of the Magnum Agency who shot the images that always come to mind as I prepare for a video shoot. Stanley Kubrick inspires me for the central perspective he applied to cinema, with the fantastic assistance of Garret Brown and the steadicam. As for someone outside of my field, there’s a memorable comment made by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo (former president of Ferrari) in response to a journalist, “I was successful in my career because I was always surrounded by individuals more exceptional than myself.”

 

Which video makers and artists do you reference in class?

I like to cite and demonstrate works by video makers such as Chris Cunningham, Jonas Åkerlund, and Johan Renck. I also dedicate at least one lesson to the maestro of editing, Pietro Scalia, a 2-time Oscar winner. His initial sequence of the 1991 film JFK should be cited in all videomaking manuals.

 

Last but not least, one more comment about giving advice to students: the one piece of advice given by professors that I truly paid heed to comes from my high school years at the Istituto Statale d’Arte. “Whatever you try to approach in terms of learning, always seek to master the foundations. The rest comes by itself.”