Rfotofolio is pleased to share the work and words of photographer Marco Lorenzetti. In our last call for submissions we ask for photographers to submit work that inspired them. Marco was one of our Merit winners.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a social documentary photographer/artist. My medium is large format traditional black and white photography. I use an 8×10 Deardorff handmade in Chicago, Tri-x film and a few lenses. In addition to being a photographer, I’m a print maker. I believe in the print as artifact.
How did you get started photography?
I started to make pictures while attending the University of Michigan School of Art.
Which photographers and other artists’ work do you admire?
I admire Julia Margaret Cameron for her use of beauty. Jacob Riis, for using the camera as a weapon of change. August Sander for his scope and demonstrating that the more specific you are with your subject matter, the more open and accessible the idea becomes. Arbus, for her truthfulness, even when she lied. Walker Evans for his dogmatism. Larry Fink for his awkward grace, Ken Josephson and Barbra Crane for their Chicago School influence that included Callahan, Siskind, and Sinsabaugh. I love the writing of Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner, the painting of Bacon and Francesco Clemente, the film of Bergman.
Would you share with us an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
I was with Professor Phil Davis at The University of Michigan School of Art. One day, after lunch in his office, he brought out a photograph by August Sander, The Boxers. It was printed by Sander’s son and it was amazing. I had never seen skin, fabric, a wall, described with such undeniable clarity and intent.
Is there one thing that you wish people would stop doing when it comes to the creative process or in the art world?
I stand, steadfastly, in defense of traditional picture making.
Setting parameters is crucial to being productive. By limiting the process, it’s actually freeing.
The problem I have with photo illustration is that anything is possible. Anything isn’t possible. In photography, the only thing that is possible is that which happens before the lens, otherwise the everyday is void of mystery. Also, lets clarify, vague is not mysterious. Vague is unclear in meaning, approximate, ill-defined or imprecise and unfocused. It was, perhaps Lisette Model who said, “The most mysterious fact is one clearly stated.” I think she said that to Arbus. I admire old processes and montage, but if the pictures are process driven, they have limited reach for me . . . . I’m interested in mystery, not decoration. The print has to disappear, it must evaporate into the idea or feeling.
What challenges do you face as an artist?
If a picture is both real and in the past, simultaneously, as soon as the shutter is
closed, how do I make it a permanent part of our present?
How do you view this time in the history of photography?
It’s the same for all generations. We have the same set of problems, the same challenges in human relationships, in art, and in society. This time in photography is not more remarkable than any other. It’s what we can accomplish that marks our time as meaningful. The medium, my tools, remain unchanged. There is no reason to alter my process. The finest way to render a black and white image is film then paper, where the image lives permanently inside of silver emulsion with unparalleled depth and clarity. There, the lights rays that travelled in a straight line through the lens are reflected back to us through a completely unique viewing experience. Photography is a process of light, it is the benchmark, not a digital approximation. I want to exploit the power of the medium, not bury it.
How do you over come a creative block?
Art is about action. This is especially true with picture making, the action of the shutter in the lens, the action of the light to the film and the chemicals to the paper. With parameters, work becomes obvious, routine. When you have a way of working, consistency with your materials, your rational brain can de-activate, making room for intuition and happenstance. It then becomes a matter of knowing, or not knowing, what you have discovered.
What do you hope the viewer takes from your images?
That’s something only they can know.
Thank you Marco we look forward to seeing more of your work.
To learn more about the work of Marco Lorenzetti please visit his site at Marco Lorenzetti.