Studying The Masters

When I was in college I studied abroad for a year in Florence, Italy. That year of my life was absolutely crazy! With classes Monday-Thursday and traveling everywhere you can imagine in Europe (and beyond) Friday through Sunday! I saw SO much that year, it blows my mind when I stop to think about it. It was actually on a bridge in Amsterdam when I realized I’d forgot to bring my dad’s old 35mm camera with me on that trip and I had to buy a disposable camera (remember those?) to document my trip, and I was profoundly struck by the idea that maybe photography was more than just a hobby to me. I realized that through images I could tell stories. It was then that my path led me to photojournalism and then on to wedding photography!

That year, I had the most amazing teachers, including Professora Carrara. She was passionate…no, beyond passionate about sharing her knowledge of art and art history. It was a testament to her great teaching that no matter how late we stayed out and no matter how much wine we drank in the piazza the night before her class, we did NOT miss the walking tours she put on every Wednesday morning. We walked the streets of Firenze and visited museums aplenty. I can distinctly still hear her saying in her thick Italian accent, “It’s the Pan-theon, NOT the Par-thonon!”

For years, I have been telling myself and others that I am not an artist and not artistic. But, lately I’ve found myself going back to study some of the artists she turned us on to, as well as others for inspiration in my work. And slowly, but surely, I’ve come around the the idea that I am artistic. I do have an artistic eye and I am influenced by all of the things that artists look for in creating their art: good composition, good light, and a subject that strikes them in such a way that they are compelled to make it come to life through their eyes.

I am inspired by SO many different great painters, anywhere from Botticelli to Vermeer to Renoir….

I look forward to the day when I can re-visit Florence, and maybe visit with Professora Carrara to tell her just how much she has shaped and influenced my life by allowing me to know more about how a true artist sees the world.



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