The Blood, Sweat, Toil and Absolute Joy of Making a Photography Book.
Il Paese Del Mio CuoreIl Paese Del Mio Cuore, The Village That Stole My Heart. 7 x7 inch soft cover book
Some of the pages in the book.
To the people of Mandanici I owe a huge debt of gratitude. With each visit, which were numerous, people opened their hearts and their lives so that I could capture the images in these books. This little village is my home too, and I wish it wasn't so far away. With my frequent visits I feel more connected and a part of the community. Mandanici is the birthplace of my ancestors and my roots grow deep within its soil. I long for its embrace and my family who live within its borders, and throughout Italy every day of my existence. I look forward to the next time I breathe in the salted Mediterranean Sea air, feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and eat the delicious meals made from the fruits of the rich volcanic earth.
Producer of Photography - Detroit
(Book no longer available)
This is not my first book of photographs, but it is the most comprehensive and challenging one I have ever finished. It has gone through multiple versions and I have printed many Blurb editions, sampling sizes and paper stock until this one. Each attempt has resulted in a better version then the last. Since this is a self-publishing, on demand book there wasn’t money in the budget to hire a designer. Even with that, I had many friends who volunteered and gave me many ideas and suggestions. (I owe an enormous thank you to Trish and Richard Hirneisen plus Dianna Sinovic who helped with the final polishing and typos!) The countless hours I have spent on this project were valuable, for it taught me a lot about my personal vision and myself.
I have put together: two editions in English and Italian. They are 7 x 7 inch, (18 cm) soft and hard cover books documenting the town of my ancestors, which is located in the hills of southeast Sicily near the tourist town of Taormina. It is a deeply personal project meant to honor the people of this town, and I began making images when I was 27 years old. From the moment I walked down the cobblestone steps of the town with cameras and film, I knew I eventually would produce a book with these photographs. With the digital age came the opportunity for my dream to become a reality. As I held this edition in my hands it brought tears of joy to my soul.
In the beginning, I thought that looking at hundreds of rolls of film, transparencies and digital hard drives would be overwhelming, but I had already selected the best images on my contact sheets, so it only left the hard drives to tackle. My best friend two winters ago was the Nikon PB-6 Bellows systems mounted on a Nikon D800 camera to convert the film and transparencies into digital files. I had already scanned numerous fiber based 11 x 14 prints on a very expensive Epson flatbed scanner, and the PB-6 allowed me the opportunity to fill in the gaps with photographs I had missed. It is a toss up on which scans I prefer, but at least I had them all.
Without my Mac Pro, large screen, multiple hard drives and great software my goal and desire would have been unfulfilled. Again, with this project I was able to learn the ins and outs of multiple software’s and techniques. (Even as I write this blog I was changing copy on this newest version.) Book making is a MOST difficult undertaking that takes on a life of it’s own. It was the hardest and most satisfying project I have ever completed.
The ultimate reason I have gone through so much effort is because, when I was six years old, I fell in love with the Sicilian village of Mandanici and all my family who have resided there. I remember begging to have my parents take me back when I was younger, and I only managed to visit one other time. It wasn’t until I was on my own that I made seeing my family a top priority. Multiple trips later, here is my effort. This edition is meant to honor the people who live, or have had family in this little enclave.
I used a quote in the book and I would like to share it now: It is from the opening scene of the movie Sarah’s Key: “Sometimes our own stories are the ones we can never tell, but if a story is never told, it becomes something else. Forgotten.”
This is my story, so the people of Mandanici will always be remembered.
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Detroit People & Commercial Photographer
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