Interview: Robert Romano
Luca Curci talks with Robert Romano during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – VISIONS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
I am 72 years old. For 45 years, I was a Wall Street lawyer. My focus was White Collar and SEC Enforcement law. For many years, I have also been an avid photographer, but I started my photography business in 2017, when I ended my law career.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Robert Romano – For decades, I carried my Nikon around as my children grew up and as I traveled the world. My trips took me to many popular and interesting places – California, Oregon, Wyoming, Florida, Italy, France, South Africa, South America. I took countless family shots, landscapes and wildlife scenes and I certainly enjoyed capturing all those memories. But, on two trips to Europe – one to Florence (2006) and one to Amsterdam (2008) – my eyes and my lens noticed and captured something that changed my way of thinking about landscape photography. It is almost a cliché that taking a landscape picture of a scene near a body of water – a river, a seaport, a puddle of rainwater – heightens the scene’s beauty because the water adds a reflection of the scene that’s guaranteed to enhance the effect.
Both Florence and Amsterdam have a body of water that runs past – or wraps itself around – major landmarks. These rivers – the Arno in Florence and the Amstel in Amsterdam – serve as props to capture the postcard shots of the city’s beautiful buildings and neighborhoods. What I started to notice in these two trips was the beauty of the water itself. In Florence, having previously taken numerous shots of the Ponte Vecchio, I noticed that some of the adjacent river reflections, especially with the morning sun at my back, were colorful and mysterious on their own. I pointed my camera away from the iconic scenes of Florence and instead took a handful of pictures of the images reflected on the Arno’s surface. In Amsterdam, I stayed at a hotel that sat on the bank of the Amstel. I looked out my hotel window on the morning I arrived and was amazed at the reflection of a row of buildings directly across the river. Again, I pointed my camera only at the water’s surface and captured the rich colors in the morning sun. What I realized about many of the water images from these two trips was that their beauty was more about form and color. I also noticed that a slight breeze across the water’s surface changed the images continuously so that each frame was unique. I have since learned that, after sunset, streetlights can also create alluring nocturnal water reflections. For me, these water reflections are Nature’s Abstract Paintings.
LC – What are you currently working on?
RR – I have since looked beyond the reflection of buildings and such on the water’s surface. I’ve pursued a theme based on the shifting relationship of Water, Stone, Wind & Sunlight. In daylight, I’ve captured frozen raindrops on field stones and, at night, rain – dampened cobblestones illuminated by streetlights. I’ve noticed how underwater stones display refracted sunlight in shallow waters and how, in deeper waters, the sun can sparkle on the surface like starlight – at times, like a constellation of stars. And, as the deeper water swirls above the stones, the sunlight yields painterly abstract colors.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
RR – Landscapes and seascapes. Clearly, “Water Reflections” continues to dominate, but I have found the “Water, Stone, Wind & Sunlight” idea to be an attractive alternative.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
RR – I was a Wall Street lawyer for 45 years and have been a photographer professionally for less than 3 years. In that context, being an artist has taught me a lot. It is a very crowded place and a very lonely place. It is exciting and it is tedious.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
RR – Absolutely! Visitors who show an interest in my work have validated my artistic choices.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
RR – The images I’ve chosen for Anima Mundi are not all new, but the size and format of these images is all new. I have been told by others and by the Anima Mundi staff that my Water Reflection images would best be displayed as large images, so they are mostly 36”x24” or 30”x24” and a few are 30”x30”. I have also chosen to mount these images in frameless Acrylic. This size and formatting were both used once before, but not commercially.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
RR – The Visions theme of Anima Mundi emphasizes the universality and connectivity of the human experience. In the context of ItsLiquid, my Water Reflections embrace the sense that art and humanity are spiritually united.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RR – Absolutely. From our first contact, Luca and Giulia have encouraged me and assisted me every step of the way, especially in designing the formatting of the show.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
RR – The event was clearly designed and performed to emphasize the Art and the Artist. I really appreciated that.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
RR – Yes. Definitely.