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.
Leaving home can not only allow you to view your personal environment with new eyes, but the new experiences you find when you’re away can also help you see the world in a different way. Here I use some examples of how something that was not inherently about being “away” prompted me to experiment with light, reflection and transparency.
As a kid, returning from my summer vacation showed me my home in a different way. Trees were bigger and the house smelled both familiar and new. Leaving home and coming back again can be a great way to invigorate the way you see. When we return home after being away, home is still the same, but we can see it with new eyes.
Years ago, I had a friend who was a professional chef. Sometimes, on his days off, he would come to my house and practice what he called “sport cooking” and I ended up applying the concept to my photography.
“The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.
Content is king. Emphasizing content over visual flash encourages the viewer to respond intellectually and the idea of storytelling takes precedence.
In recent years, the proliferation of photography as a pastime has meant a huge number of images being produced and viewed every day. Some photographers have resorted to using visual flash over interesting content to rise above the fray. I still believe that content is king.