Val D'Orcia Study 1, Tuscany, Italy 1999

Picture/Story: Charlie Waite
December 29, 2021
Val D'Orcia Study 1, Tuscany, Italy 1999 | Artist Proof | £2385 exc. VAT
"While working in Italy, I chose to turn east from the Via Cassia towards Rome, and took a road no doubt familiar to any local Tuscan, but not to me. I could never have known that over the next twenty years or so, I would be travelling by foot and car along this road and every back road in the region perhaps more than a hundred times.


This thirty-kilometre stretch and the strada biancas that radiate to the north and south of it remain the loveliest areas of all Italy for me. Like a misshapen, lumpy old mattress, this chalk and clay landscape is classic Tuscany. My recollection then was of dilapidated farmhouses crowning every bump, complete with a cluster of guardian cypress trees.


Now in the twenty-first century, the ramshackle farmhouses have been transformed into large mansions with perfect avenues of immature cypress leading up to perfect thresholds. Cranes on the brows of hills betray the restoration of the few old houses that remain.


A piece of my heart belongs to this ravishing landscape. To be up at 5am on a May dawn, especially after a night's rainfall, looking down and across the Val d'Orcia is utterly beautiful.

When this image was made, there was a moment some half hour before the sun came up when the mist seemed to be like swirling chiffon, sometimes so dense that I was smothered. Within a moment or two it would become diaphanous, diffusing the early light. It seemed fitting to use a 6cm x 17cm panoramic camera here. I deliberately chose to drop the hilltop into the middle of the image and the vast breadth of the panoramic camera allowed all the agreeable shapes and the recession of the distant hills to fall into place.


Looking at this image, I sometimes wonder whether it was a fairy-tale setting and that I just happened to be there to see it manifest into reality... for a moment or two."


Charlie Waite


Listen to Charlie Waite discuss this photograph in the gallery HERE


Film FujiVelvia

Camera Fuji 6cmx17cm

Lens 300mm

Exposure 8 sec f.64

Filters Polarizer and ND 1 stop graduated

About the author

Luke Whitaker

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