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.