In my post graduate years, I worked to save money for college. I hustled three jobs to get my bank account respectable enough to take low-paying jobs overseas where I’d shoot. I frosted cakes in a bakery, among other things, to save money for film and darkroom supplies. This set of priorities, typical of any artist, yielded this body of work.
L’Olivello is a villa in Tuscany where I was based, an ancestral home in the Chianti region. This is where I shot my work that year. It sounds idyllic, and it was. It was also a job. For you see, I was a tutor for a family of Bond villain academics. One, an Etruscan archaeologist. The other, a Mediterranean classicist. There was a cavalcade of other types like them in and out of the house all summer for fellowship and flexing. The mother loved to remind me of “my place in the household”, but the father was kind. He graciously dished out fatherly advice and encouraged me to shoot every day. He operated in his own bubble. This frustrated his spouse. They fought a lot.
Daily lunches, always eaten at home and always at the same time, were peppered with deep conversations about the needs for my student on that day. Food was served by the contadina as we discussed all the things that needed to be done that day. Who was stopping by, where we needed to drive. Playdates, appointments, farmacia runs. All of it was planned in Italian. And I shot it all.
There was a mid-summer break I took in France when I visited relations in Cap Ferrat. I remember how refreshed I felt being around family. But it was too short, and I had to go back to my job with the Bond villains. I was lonely. The work reflects that, a bit of shyness. I’d peek out at my own pace while shooting, then I’d turtle back in.
Fast, deliberate shooting polished to a shine over the course of that trip, and subsequent trips. For I returned, this time with grant money, to shoot day-to-day Tuscan life. I had no agenda apart from beautifying, in film, what surrounded me. The people, the hills, the ideas. Oh, and, the light. That magnificent Tuscan light. Like frosting.
All images (2000 – 2002) and text © Angela Cappetta
By Angela Cappetta
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