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.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1055789

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Page 39 of 88

nuyale.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 37 I've spent time in DiGiovanni's darkroom, which one enters through a revolving door that came from the Courier-Journal. When I drop in, he is busy preparing for a show at First Light Gallery on East Main Street. It's a collection of shots from a recent trip to Kenya, taken on a 6x7 Pentax. He rarely shoots people, focusing instead on landscapes and abstracts, but in Kenya he actively photographed people in the small villages. "My whole purpose is to create art, to create something that someone would be pleased to be in the presence of and enjoy on a daily basis. …is," he says of the Adams print, "inspires me every day. For me, that's what it's about." DiGiovanni has little patience for digital photography. …e Louisville Photo Forum, of which he is a founding member, is largely, if not entirely, digital. But this spring he gave a talk on the history of ‰lm photography at the group's monthly meeting, held at the Bon Air Library. "To me," he said, "photography is about light. It's not about pixels." Photography, he said, means painting with light. "And that's exactly what you're doing. Because when you're burning and dodging, you're painting." By now, I have learned the art of exposure, developing, printing and mounting — and much of it because of DiGiovanni. …e sycamore root I shot in Bernheim is now dry-mounted on archival cotton-rag paper, matted and framed. I hung it on my wall, a way to say: I did this. I visit Lavenson as he's photographing a bottle of bourbon in his commercial studio. He's been in this industry for more than 20 years. Today, he photographs the glistening bottle with a handheld digital camera, the bourbon poured over plastic ice. Much of this commercial work he has done using a 4x5 camera with a digital attachment. Digital did not win out over ‰lm because it's better, he insists, but rather because, on a professional level, it's cheaper and has a faster turnaround. And it erased the anxiety of all that could go wrong with a shot. "…e camera has this awesome ability to educate, to empathize with a culture, a group of people," Lavenson says. "Whatever your message is — if it's environmental causes, say — the camera is a powerful tool to change the world by what you see and how you see it. I've always felt like the camera is maybe the best way to change the world." On the shelf in his o—ce, Lavenson keeps a hardcover book of the photographs of Alma Lavenson, his great-aunt and an accomplished photographer and friend to Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and other leading photographers from the early 20th century. His father was an amateur photographer who built a darkroom in the family basement. As a child, Lavenson remembers watching his father make prints. "For me," he says, "I fell in love with photography when I ‰rst saw…a picture that I took develop right before my eyes. And I've learned over the years that that's the magical point where a lot of people fell in love with photography. …is has an overwhelming emotional ešect on people, and it did for me as well. "You take that negative and slide it into an enlarger," he says. "You focus it down on your easel, you slide in a piece of paper and you expose it, and you develop it, and you watch that print turn from a white sheet of paper to the very picture that you took."

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