All posts by Jeff Curto

Photographer Jeffrey Curto is Coordinator and Professor of Photography at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he has taught since 1984. Courses frequently taught include History of Photography, Digital Imaging. Compositional Structure, Color Photography and other advanced techniques. Prior to employment at College of DuPage, Curto worked extensively as a freelance photographer, specializing in event and public relations photography, architectural interiors and exteriors, portrait and product photography. Further, Curto worked in the photo-processing industry for two years, primarily as a custom photographic printer. Curto was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1981 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bennington College in Vermont in 1983. Additionally, he attended Ansel Adams' last workshop in Carmel, California in 1983. In recent years, Curto's primary photographic subject has been Italy; he has traveled there frequently since 1989. While it is the country's landscape and architectural qualities that interest him, it is not the large, expansive view which draws his attention. Rather, he chooses to examine selected fragments of the Italian environment, seen in quiet, intimate glimpses. In this way, luminously peaceful courtyards, sunlight on ageless monuments and the warmth radiating off of grapes ripening on the vine are all given equal importance as subject matter. Curto sees his choice of subjects this way: "All of my photographs are based on the medium's predilection towards making a mountain out of a molehill. The process of photography has a way of transforming ordinary objects into extraordinary phenomena." His fascination with Italy's landscape and architecture is further enhanced by a love for its food, wine and art, and by an appreciation for the deep and seemingly countless layers of history that pervade everything Italian. "I attempt to use light, lens and time to bring the country's cool mornings, hazy afternoons and simple beauties home with me", Curto says. His use of the large format view camera, which produces a negative 4x5" in size, combined with the choice of black & white materials gives Curto great control over the photographic process, allowing him to make prints of subtle detail and tone.

Camera Position 153 : Celebrate Your Vision

The practice of photography shapes the way we view the world. No matter what level of involvement you have with the medium, seeing the world as a photographer enhances your vision, your life and your sense of self.

Celebrate that!

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Castelluccio, Norcia, Umbria, 2014 - Photograph by Jeff Curto
Castelluccio, Norcia, Umbria, 2014 – Photograph by Jeff Curto


Camera Position 152 : The Shape of Content

The book The Shape of Content, by Ben Shahn, is a collection of essays based on a series of six lectures given by Shahn, an important 20th century painter, at Harvard University in the 1950s.

Through the book, we get a great sense of Shahn’s notions about how art can and should be learned and, more importantly, his belief that art cannot really be taught. In Shahn’s mind, we are human beings first; artists second. Or, in other words, we must always be living, learning, and looking.

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The Shape of Content – Ben Shahn at Amazon

Ben Shahn's The Shape of Content
Ben Shahn’s The Shape of Content

Camera Position 151 : The Way of Zen

In his book The Way of Zen,  Alan Watts explains two different, mutually important, ways of using our minds and therefore our creativity, which helps to explain the potential of perception in photography:

“For we have two types of vision—central and peripheral, not unlike the spotlight and the floodlight.”

In this episode, I look at those two types of vision and see how they can be used to improve the thought process behind the photographs that we make.

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Zen Garden
Zen Garden

Camera Position 150 : You Are Not The Viewer

You’re the photographer, not the viewer of the photographs you make. Between the making of the image and the time that the image is put out into the world for viewing, that distinction is often lost, though it’s an important one to consider for both photographers and viewers alike.

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Campidoglio, Roma, 2014 - Photograph by Jeff Curto
Campidoglio, Roma, 2014 – Photograph by Jeff Curto


Camera Position 149 : The Roots of Ideas

Every new idea is just a restatement of old ideas, or sometimes it’s several old ideas combined into a new one. Collecting ideas as you go along is a great way of mining new ways of thinking of things.
I use an Idea Bank to hold my ideas so I can use them at a later time.

For a long time, I’ve used a plain old folder to hold things like quotations, objects, articles, pictures and other ephemera. What I like about a physical folder is that I can pull the objects out from time to time and physically associate them with one another as I try to create new ideas out of things I’m interested in.

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Cactus, Tucson, 2015 - Photograph by Jeff Curto
Cactus, Tucson, 2015 – Photograph by Jeff Curto