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November - Luciano Monti.

Luciano Monti, born in 1960, works in Este, Italy as a portrait and wedding photographer. In 1993 he was awarded Best Italian Portrait Photographer by Kodak and in 1998 Best Italian Wedding Photographer by Agfa. Luciano Monti has showed his images at major exhibitions in Italy and abroad, and has published several books; Ritratti Nobili, (1992), American Landscapes (1999) and Italian landscape ( 2003).

Luciano Monti started out in photography almost by chance. In 1983 he accompanied some friends on a pilgrimage from Assisi to Rome. One of them had a camera and documented the walkers and events along the way. Afterwards, Luciano realised the value of preserving the moments and bought a camera himself.

He joined a photographic club and took part in courses and workshops, one of them held by Douglas Kirkland. Gradually he established himself as a portrait- and wedding-photographer though his primary interest was landscape work. As his main sources of inspiration he names Arnold Newman for portraiture and Ansel Adams and Edward Weston for landscapes. 

And when you see the pictures in his book ‘American Landscapes’ you can see the affect Ansel Adams had on Monti. The images are a product of the utmost care following Adams’ zone system.

 However, in his latest book ‘Landscape’, Monti is more experimental, trying to capture the landscape without being restrained by the straight jacket of Adams. He also fought to escape from the established tourist image of the Italian landscape.

In his first book, Monti produced a portrait of the Italian nobility, mainly from Venice and Padua. It was a very large format book entitled ‘Ritratti Nobili’ where formally dressed people wander through large and austere rooms.
When describing Monti one could say that he has already been on a long journey. His travelling companions are a 6x6 Hasselblad camera and an XPan, always using a tripod and natural light. He prefers the square format because it forces the photographer to create an interpretation of reality. And he loves to work with black and white film:
-You always have the negative.
He has also some advice to offer:
-Just when you have finished shooting, take a few more frames. The last ones are always the best.

Sören Gunnarsson