After 911 things changed for many photographers. Working in a large format in Europe became much more difficult for Americans. There were some tense times att eh airport. Security would invariably want to get inside my 25 sheet 8 x 10 film boxes. They would say "open that". This seldom went well.
Worse, even if I did get to Italy with my film intact, I ran the risk of having exposed film inspected and ruined on the way back!
Digital changed all that. By 2005 I was beginning to photograph digitally and was teaching in Venice in a new program I designed of a study abroad for Northeastern University students.
Many students, total chaos and a great time. And heavy stress. What if I lost a student? What if a student got pregnant? I photographed digitally in color those summers in Venice.
This was a frustrating time, as putting in major effort wasn't resulting in pictures that I felt I could do much with. File sizes were small and so large prints weren't possible, at least in any real quality. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy: my work wasn't that strong because I didn't fully commit because I knew the quality wasn't going to be very high.
This one, above, is from 2005 and was the last year I worked in film, from a series called Vignole, a small island in Venice's lagoon that is mostly agricultural and not tourism-based. The prints were made by scanning the negatives and making inkjet prints. This image shows a marked difference in terms of investment, I think.
By 2009 I was fully committed to working digitally and had switched to using a full frame sensor. That year I was on a sabbatical leave and spent the fall living in Italy, retracing steps made earlier while teaching in the 90's.
1992 in 8 x 10
I made comparative photographs that spanned 15 years or so.
Now I was using photography differently but also using Italy differently. No longer satisfied with just a single frame to speak about a place but working to compare two different times and visual sensibilities. This way of working meant that I was searching in 2009 for the same places I'd photographed in the 90's.
For this one in Trieste, I drove through this large city for hours to find the same place I'd photographed in 1991.
Next up? Italy 3