Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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liveinlou.com 36 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 Lavenson is in his early 50s now, soft-spoken and articulate. A group of photographers settle into the couches and chairs along the back wall: besides Cenci, there are two University of Louisville students; Adam Mescan, an employee from Murphy's Camera (and a Louisville Magazine freelance photographer); Andrea Koesters, who worked at State Film and has since moved to Arizona; and Rachel Waters, a professional photographer who until recently worked with Lavenson. (Lavenson plans on teaching the large-format class again. Once people found out about it, more wanted in. "I love playing a really small part in seeing the interest in ‰lm grow," he says.) Lavenson readies slides he has prepared on the large desktop computer. "With digital," he says, "it's easy to get way ahead of yourself, and then you realize that you're no longer really creating art — the camera is just a pretty expensive Xerox machine at that point." With a large-format camera, he says, "You can actually create your plane of focus to be as "at as the desert you're photographing, so that the branch in the foreground is as sharp as the mountains in the background." Since Lavenson's class, Cenci says he has shot perhaps 10 large-format frames. "I'm very selective," he says. "Portraiture is a very slow process of taking pictures." Recently, he stood on the corner of Liberty and Fourth streets downtown, taking portraits of people he'd ask to pause for perhaps ‰ve minutes in their comings and goings. "I feel like it's growing," Cenci says of ‰lm culture in Louisville. "I think part of it is that in this digital world we live in, everyone wants something they can physically touch and feel and hold." Before I built my darkroom, I would go to my bedroom long past sundown and sit on the "oor of my closet, a towel pushed against the gap under the door. Total darkness. By touch, I would open the ‰rst lid on the 4x5 ‰lm as Lavenson had taught us, then the second — a kind of puzzle box that protects the ‰lm from light. I'd pull a ‰lm holder's cover, known as the "dark slide," and guide in a sheet. ™e next time the slide would come out, I would be in the light, making a negative. Entering photographer Fred DiGiovanni's house ož Douglass Loop, you immediately see, hung above the ‰replace, a signed silver gelatin print of Ansel Adams' Moon Over Half Dome, which was shot in 1960 and is one of Adams' most iconic images. DiGiovanni, originally from Queens, New York, has been shooting for 55 years, his ‰rst shots being of an airplane snapped on a sixth-grade ‰eld trip. He has shot nothing but ‰lm in all that time, and he does his own processing, printing, matting, framing and mounting. He has chided me over my insistence on perfection in my work. Any small mars on my prints, such as spots caused by emulsion inconsistences, bother me, but to him they suggest: photograph. For nearly 30 years DiGiovanni taught middle school art, including photography, here in Louisville. Yet, during the last Photo Biennial in Louisville, when dozens of photography exhibits were on display in galleries throughout the city, he ožered a darkroom class and nobody signed up. Now, he is ready to ožer one again. Interest, he says, is growing.

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