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.
With creative work, there is often a gap between our ambitions and our ability to create work that meets our expectations. Fortunately, our “inner critic” is there to help us close the gap between our goals and the photographs we make.
Human values — those emotions, beliefs, traditions, and knowledge that we understand and share as human beings are an integral part of how we come to express ourselves in photography. In fact, it may be the essence of why we want to express ourselves with photography.
Rollo May (1909 – 1994) was an American existential psychologist and author. Among his books was The Courage to Create. In it, May lays out some ideas about art and creativity that have important implications for the creative person; photographers included.
One of the four steps of achieving true critique of a work of art is analysis and doing that analysis requires applying the elements and principles of art. In this episode, we look at what those elements and principles are so we can employ them in true critique of our photographs.
In the last couple of episodes of Camera Position, I talked about feedback on your work and the type of feedback you typically get contrasted against the type of feedback you want, which is true, genuine critique of your work.
In truth, critique of any sort is based entirely on critical thinking or the objective analysis and evaluation of something in order to form an evaluation of it. Critical thinking is at the base of how we come to know something… critical thinking is the engine of learning.