I have been in Civita di Bagnoregio for the past month shooting pinhole photographs on a fellowship. Civita is a surreal, isolated hilltop town north of Rome and I fell in love with It. It survived largely due to the work of an architect, Astra Zarina and her husband Tony Costa Heywood, also an architect. Read this article to learn what Astra Zarina did with her fascinating life. (Astra Zarina). The Civita Institute, known also as NIAUSI, now manages the houses and awards fellowships to all types of people, among many other things. Their website, civitainstitute.org has so much information: you should go there and read about it.
So this is what I did.
I put 35 cameras from the Pinhole Project around the town when I first arrived. They were loaded with paper. Since these needed a good thirty days of exposure, I put them up right away. Not in the plan was how much rain there was, I mean a lot of rain and wind which soaked and moved the cameras: some so wet that I had to pour the water out when I retrieved them. The tape used to stick the cameras up did not work at all with the tuff, the rock of Civita. Instead I put the cameras on downspouts, railings, fences and trees. One went in a car. Some got taped to windows inside.
The response from the citizens of Civita was gracious and for that I am grateful. They seemed interested, respectful and kind. Not one of the cameras was taken down or messed with. Apparently there are no pinhole bandits about the area. I have retrieved the cameras I put up and am in Rome right now. The paper negatives have been removed from the cans and are in a light tight box waiting to be scanned; several cans have been given to interested people with which to make images to be retrieved later. I will scan my negatives as soon I as I get home! I also have 32 rolls of 120 C-41 (color negative) film from my Zero 2000. This film is waiting to be developed along with 30 sheets of 4 x 5 C-41 film shot in my Leonardo. All of that film, once it is developed can be scanned and shared. I have been researching developing my own color negatives but am a wee bit nervous to start with this batch. I have been told that it is easy and would certainly be less expensive. Please chime in if you have done this type of development before or want to help!
I also shot a lot of iphone photographs. I have always loved that camera. I will probably make a little book of these images. I have been publishing them on Instagram as a way to keep in touch with everyone and everything. It felt good to publish to Instagram which worked when nothing else did but What’s App. (What’s Up with that?) I will do a blog post of some that did not make it to instagram in the future. I just have to say: I hate the selfie stick and do not understand the need to photograph oneself in front of historical places or monuments or landscapes. I have never used the iphone in this manner. And I never will. Just saying.
I did not intend to but started also to work seriously at night with my DSLR. I brought it along as a kind of polaroid for the pinholes and was glad I did despite how heavy it was. The rain would stop and the town would glisten. Since the images are digital, I have been working on them and have posted some previously unfacebooked images here.
Patience. It will no doubt take me at least four or even six weeks or longer to get these pinhole photographs done. I do hope there is something valuable there that will intrigue me and you and enlighten us both. I learned some interesting concepts living in Civita: that I can eat well, make art and be happy that I actually forgot to lock the door at night. Photography at night is more physically demanding than the day but digital makes it seem easy. Digital gives us that shot of instant gratification. In the meantime, here are some night photographs as promised. Grazie a tutti cari lettori! Buona Sera!
Moonrise in Civita
The Arch Fantasma
Boar Hunting in the Moonlight
From the Street: A Home
Other Images are untitled so far.
Featured Image: Outside Alma’s: Toward the Ape