Converting Old World Italian Photos Into Modern Works of Art

"Siete italiani? (Are you Italian)" Marv Alpert is often asked. "Well, my heart, soul and stomach think I'm Italian even though I was born an American."  Somewhat of a Renaissance man, Marv's professional titles have included teacher, school psychologist, CEO of his own businesses, and now photographer.  Two years ago he sold his thriving medical transcription business and has converted his old time hobby of photography into a full time career.

Marv's love for Italy comes from his childhood friendships and memories, smelling homemade sauce or "gravy" as he friend called it, his business in an Italian neighborhood in New York, and his extensive travel in Italy.

When he first began his company, he did the monthly billing in his Italian assistant's home.  The assistant's mother treated him like "family" and after you work you must "mangia" and sample some homemade wine. Once you fall in love with Italian cooking the rest just follows. From this background with business and technology, love of the  Italian culture and photography, his new career emerged. 

As a painter uses paint so does the photographer use light  Marv likes to call what he does a unique blend of fine art painting, photography and technology.  He calls his mixed media style "photo-paintography".   Does the artist see a photograph in his mind or does the photographer foresee how it will look as a painting?

He merges the antiquity of scenes in Italy with cutting edge graphic design.  His photographs allow one to step back in time to those images that capture the soul of an ancient tranquil time while using modern digital computer technological advances. The process begins, like all good art, in the mind of the maker.  He decides which specific scene to capture on film, which "slice of life" to transform into a work that conveys a message or feeling that the artist wants to convey to his viewer.   Marv often feels overwhelmed when shooting his photos in Italy, trying to select the one proper scene or person to photograph from the vast beauty of antiquity in the many picturesque small towns of Italy. 

The style of his Marv's work is Impressionistic often taking on a Renoir or Monet tone.  This soft blending of small strokes or dabs of paint gives his work a calming and natural tone.  Marv says, "My work depends on a conveying of a mood, using photographic lines to paint strokes by choosing the specific digital paintbrushes from a myriad of homemade and commercial digital filters".  The filters employ ser-defined brushes, which vary in size and texture, orientation, angle, color, percentage of coverage and pressure.

Just as a painter instinctively or through experience knows which color to use, what angle and pressure to apply to his or her strokes, the digital artist must know which techniques to use to convey a variance of feelings and evocative imagery to the viewer. 

When asked about his mission Marvin says, "My goal is to have you feel the warmth of the Italian people and their culture and I hope that these images allow you to be absorbed by the colors and the textures of "old world Italy."  I hope to use the advantages of modern digital techniques, not worrying about the technical voyage or tools of the trade, but rather arriving at the destination of getting my message across to my audience.

For those of you more technically oriented Marv's pictures were taken with a Nikon N80, N90 and an Olympus APS camera.  Slides, prints and or negatives were scanned and made into digital files. Various programs such as Photoshop, Corel Paint, Paint Shop Pro, as well as professional and user-defined filters were used.  


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