Photographs by Robert Hutchison
January - June 2017 while a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome
My long walks around Rome have focused on those areas of the city where the urban fabric changes abruptly due to infrastructure, such as where the numerous main rail lines congregate to make their turn up towards Termini Station. This interest in the relationship of infrastructure to the city, along with the numerous trips that my family and I have taken through Italy by train, has resulted in an obsessive documentation of photographs inspired by friend and colleague Prentis Hale's own similar photographic investigations that use the moving train as a panoramic image making tool.
There are many things that I love about these photographs. For one, I have very little ability to control their outcome; they are like digital versions of the old Holga film cameras, where you never know what you might come up with, but sometimes the results can be surprising and beautiful. And then there is the cinematic quality that results from the superimposition of the photographic eye of the camera with the motion of the train, which allows the camera to take in more information, and in many cases repeat that information, compared to if you took a photograph standing still. Yet perhaps what I most appreciate about them is how they serve as a means to perceive similarities and differences between places, be it the various spatial conditions created by infrastructure, how the density and color of buildings change from city to city, and how they illuminate the differences in the quality of light between dawn, daytime, and dusk.