Old Craftsmanship In Tuscany with the Leica M 240
by Christian Robert
In Tuscany, and especially in Florence, old craftsmanship is still alive.
Every year millions of tourists travel to Florence to see Michelangelo’s David in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and Botticelli’s birth of Venus in the Uffizi Gallery. They climb up the campanile to catch a glimpse of the city on the Arno and rush past the numerous jewelry shops along the Ponte Vecchio. Then they hurry to Pisa to take a picture of the Leaning Tower. The culmination of every Tuscany tour is the tasting of local specialties such as olive oil and Chianti wine. But hardly a tourist manages to see the true beauty of Tuscany and its inhabitants, far from mass tourism, in the traditional workshops of artisans and on the streets.
To photograph the real life in Tuscany, four years ago I exchanged my Canon Eos 5DII and 6 Zeiss ZE lenses for the Leica M240 with 50 Summilux. Later, the 35th Summilus was added. During my numerous trips to Tuscany, I have made unique photos of traditional crafts and everyday life, which I presented in October and November 2015 under the working title Insight (E1nblick) to a wide audience. Especially the proximity to the people and the familiarity with the craftsmen inspired many visitors. Today I work with the Leica M240 with the 50 Summilux, the Leica M262 with the 28 Summilux and the Leica M10 with the 35 Summilux. My photos can be seen at Leica Photography International and Leica Fotopark (https://lfi-online.de/ceemes/de/galerie/Christian-Robert-Fiedler-357159.html. There you can also see the everyday and artisan photos from the exhibition Insight (E1nblick).
Three years after the opening of the exhibition, my photo book, titled “Insight – A Passing View“ has finally been published.
With my photographs I would like to give insight and risk a look at the same time. Detached from the situational context, which of course is already restricted by the choice of format, the observer is supposed to embark on a journey and find himself in many situations. But sometimes, however, a look is not enough and it is necessary to gain insight. Then you recognize details that were just inconsequential, then you hear voices and sounds, where none should be, then you have arrived in the middle of the action. Then you hear the machines in the manufactory, the voices in the market or the gossip of the neighbor. Then you smell the leather in the factory, the fish in the harbor and breath the dust in the workshops.
But true life happens and is already in the next moment back in the past. It can not be simulated in the studio and certainly not reproduced. Every situation is unique and incomparable, but the moment captured in a photograph does not go away.
In order to do justice to this insight at a glance, I have chosen the portrait format. Because as in real life, doors and windows provide insight behind the facades, my photographs allow you a look, or even insight.
To ensure that my photographs come to life on the pages, an important choice had to be made about the book cover type and the type of paper is involved. The final decision was made on a linen-bound hardcover with dust jacket and archival grade paper with a characteristic surface structure [148 gsm (148 g/m²)]. This high-quality paper with an uncoated eggshell finish provides not only an excellent fidelity but also a haptic experience.
Every book is unique and will only be produced on request. My book is only available at Amazon HERE.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Christian Robert Fiedler