Italy Through Another Lens by Dick Arentz

June 21, 2012

Faithfully reproducing a finely crafted Platinum/Palladium print in publications such as books and magazines is fraught with difficulty, my recent post on the importance of viewing original prints shows how different the printed page can be.

However Dick Arentz’s book ‘Italy Through Another Lens’ published by Nazraeli Press last year has got close to expressing the tones and subtitles associated with this beautiful printing process.  The book presents a series of images of Italy not generally seen by Italians or visitors, and which, framed by his Arentz unerring eye, radiate with the rich, haunting beauty of Italy. From the Italo-Albanese hill towns in Sicily and Calabria to the little known canals of Milano, the images in this monograph comprise homage to Italy by an artist whose vision has been honed through the decades. Two of my favorite images from the book are below :


Mare Tireeno,Talamone,Platinum/Palladium, Dick Arentz, 2007


Pompeii III, Platinum/Palldium, Dick Arentz, 2006


As is noted in the insightful introduction written by Lucia Gillard, the different lens which is referred to in the title ‘is both a material fact and a state of seeing… both engendered by the changes in technology, progressive and regressive, as it were, in the field of photography.’

In short, due to restrictions that Arentz had experienced in the past with the overseas transport of large format cameras and the dwinderling supplies of medium and large format films that he loved in the past, rather than allowing this to prevent him from taking imagery and printing in his favourite alternative printing process he has embraced  21st technology as Lucia describes…

‘in these changes the opportunity to expand his vision, taking advantage of the availability of small digital cameras of incredible quality, equipped with fine prime lens by Zeiss and Leica, using computer software and ink jet printers Arentz has been able to blend the technologies of both the nineteenth and 21st Century to produce distinctive images, which equal and indeed, frequently surpass the benchmark established by printing platinum/palladium from in camera negatives.

As is the case with many contemporary platinum/palladium printers the use of digital technology is becoming more wide spread as it does have advantages over its more traditional origins.

Dick has produced two other earlier books with Nazraeli, the first, The Grand Tour, illustrates photographs taken from six years work in continental Europe. The second entitled the British Isles reproduces images made over twenty expeditions to the British Isles since 1977, from the Orkney Islands in the far north to Land’s End, the most south-western tip.

This summer he will self-publish a small edition of books commemorating his late wife Lucia’s photography and hopes to achieve similar production values as he did with Nazraeli. I look forward to viewing them once they are complete.

For further information visit his website here

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