Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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Pinhole Photographs in Rome, Italy

These images were taken near the art campus at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Both were taken as part of my pinhole photography class, so both were shot with pinhole cameras. I made my camera from a small 6×9 inch wooden box with a hole the size of a pin cut into one side.

Photographing ancient buildings and structures throughout my semester abroad helped me learn to observe all of the small details present in structures in Rome. The first photo depicts 3 statues along the top of a church adjacent to the art campus. This inside of this church was extraordinary; however, every single church throughout Rome was comparably decorated and similarly beautiful. Studying fresco painting in close proximity to these gorgeous structures was pretty magical because if I was stuck on how to depict something in my class, I could walk next door and closely observe the work of masters who lived centuries before.

The second photo is of a street performer outside of Castel D’Sant Angelo. This ancient castle was where cardinals, priests, and the pope met before the Vatican was erected. Now a museum, it is a popular tourist destination. In Rome it is common for street performers to gather outside of famous landmarks and popular tourist sites. I remember the day that I took this photo, it was an ordinary day in class, but looking back on it now, the fact that I got the opportunity to take this picture is remarkable. Using a primitive form of photography to document these sites and structures helped me improve my observation skills and my ability to “see as an artist.”

I feel that both of these photos capture the degree to which I felt inspired (very) while studying in Rome. In the next 10 years, I would love to be granted to opportunity to return and create more art.

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