The Orvieto Project

Kenn Bisio


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Nuovo Inizio a di Casa Therese
Fresh Start at the Home of Therese

In 1967 I attended a photography workshop in Yosemite Valley from some guy named Ansel Adams. I had no idea who he was. I just saw an advertisement in a magazine for the workshop. I was 16 and I only knew two things… I loved photography and I loved Yosemite. I signed up.

Ruth Bernhard visited the workshop one day and we just became immediate friends. I lived in Pacifica, California and she had her studio at her Clay Street home in San Francisco. I was her darkroom/studio gopher my senior year in high school. That was 1969.

Where Ansel taught me the mastery of the machine and the photographic process, Ruth taught me to chase light. I brought those disciplines to my vocation as a photojournalist.

This set of five photographs were made in 1977 on my first trip to Italy and Switzerland. I was 26 years old and had been making serious exposures for ten years. All were exposed on Kodak Tri-X film processed in C-76 (Crone C Additive added to Kodak D-76), full strength at 68 degrees for five and one-half minutes.

After I made the photograph of the couple in the window in Firenze, I promised myself I would, one day, live in Italy. That day came February 28, 2023 and my home is in Orvieto.

These photographs, made while wandering and wondering in Italy, set the tone of all my future work. Pardon the pun, but after my trip to Italy, everything photographic just clicked. It all made sense. I made sense. I discovered the two most important days in my life… the day I was born and the day I found out why.

These are my seminal images, the ones that cut the path for all my work for the next 50 years. I owe my careers as a photojournalist, a university professor and dreamer to these five photographs. So, of course they are the first I offer in 2024 for The Orvieto Project.

Kenn Bisio