It’s the Eternal City, and Diane Epstein has lived there for 15 years, where she is renowned not only for her photography but for her culinary accomplishments. And food is one of the subjects of her photography. Epstein has evolved a technique that she calls fresco photography. She has it printed on stone, but it’s the fusion of images she shoots and reshoots, layering into them images of Roman walls, that creates the resonance. Thus they have a blurred look that gives them their unique vintage.
Epstein does not shy from the familiar: it’s the Pantheon Dome (looking suspiciously like National Gallery rotunda,) the Forum, St. Peter’s, the Castel St. Angelo and the Coliseum. But there is also piselli (peas,) aglio (garlic,) and best of all carciofi (artichokes) looking like roses, almost. Some very beautiful limoni are one of her subjects as well.
Originally from New York and California, Epstein is self-taught in photography. She admires many photographers, but it is the impressionist painters who inspire her most. She mentions especially Cézanne and Renoir.
Recently she has had several commissions that have caused her to print her photographs in very large sizes so that her work has the feel of murals. She prints the fruits and vegetables in fairly small sizes, perfect for the kitchen.
In her culinary habit, she wanders around Rome with tourists and collects local produce and then prepares a feast. Epstein also shares her feast of Rome in her photographs. (At Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave., opening April 9.)