Michael A. Smith - Tuscany: Wandering the Back Roads, Vol. 2

Michael A. Smith - Tuscany: Wandering the Back Roads, Vol. 2


Photographs and Preface by Michael A. Smith

Foreword by Ferenc Máté
Essay by Robert Sobieszek

Hardbound Edition of 1000 copies

Publication: 2004

128 pages, 59 reproductions
Printed in 600-line screen quadtone
10" x 20"

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The land of Tuscany has nurtured and inspired artists for centuries. In Tuscany: Wandering the Back Roads, Volume I, by Paula Chamlee, and Volume II, by Michael A. Smith, the glorious tradition not only continues, but is enhanced in their deeply personal and beautiful photographs of one of the most alluring and romantic places in the world.

In the spring of 1999 and 2000, and in the fall of 2001, the photographers Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee shipped their old Land Rover to Europe, a vehicle they configured to accommodate their large-format camera equipment and camping gear. They then drove to Italy, where they traveled together, yet worked separately while exploring the landscape and the small towns and villages of Tuscany, each recording their own visual responses to a land they had come to love.

During their travels and adventures, Chamlee and Smith photographed from the quarries in the Carrara region in the north to the old Etruscan towns in the south, and from the Val di Chiana and Cortona in the east to the Island of Elba off the coast to the west.

Their photographs, full of warmth and life, yet demanding in their complex visual elements, are the culmination of those three extensive trips. Selections from each of the photographers are here collected in this extraordinary two-volume set of books.

Chamlee's 8 x 10, 5 x 7, and 4 x 5-inch contact prints are presented in Volume I, along with an Essay by the noted Curator of Photography Robert Sobieszek, a Foreword by the well-known writer, Ferenc Má¡tá, and a Preface by the photographers. Volume II is a long-format book and contains Smith's 8 x 20-inch photographs.

To insure the exacting standards that are a hallmark of Lodima Press, every detail in the production of these exquisite books was supervised by the photographers. The reproductions of the photographs, in 600-line screen quadtone and printed by Salto2 in Belgium, achieve unmatched fidelity to the original prints. Sturdy and elegant French-fold dust jackets protect and complement these fine books.

Robert Sobieszek, from the essay, "Matters of Choice and Discovery"

Look carefully at their photographs. Surprising things occur, amazing relationships reveal hidden associations, modest epiphanies announce themselves gracefully. . . . Technically masterful and visually sophisticated, their photographs are, simply, exquisite.

Chamlee sets up poetic resonances . . . visual sonnets of felt sensations comprised of shapes and their repetitions, textures and their echoes, and all artfully considered and balanced. . . . Each image is a doorway, a portal through which one enters a very personally seen set of relationships. It is not about entering the Tuscan landscape; it is about entering Chamlee's images.

What Smith captures so majestically throughout his book is a symphony made up of subtle, nuanced tones, textures, flows, and rhythms carefully framed within the scenic panoramas. [His] vast horizontal views suggest many narratives, journeys through the subjective terrains depicted, meanderings and wanderings of mind and eye. His scenes are like musical scores—arrangements of pictorial notes across the view.