Leading up to the 50th celebration next August, we will be featuring various alumni and professors of the Cortona alumni family. This week we would like to introduce you to Jeff Curto!
Name: Jeff Curto
University/Major/degree: BFA - Illinois Wesleyan University, MFA - Bennington College)
Were you a student or a professor? Professor of Photography
Semesters taught in Cortona: Fall semester - 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
What courses did you teach in Cortona: ARST 2210 (Introduction to Photography & Image Culture) and ARST 3270 (Social Documentary Photography and Video)
Favorite flavor of gelato: Banana
Current profession: Professor Emeritus (retired) at College of DuPage, Adjunct Professor at UGA, and Photography workshop leader (photographitaly.com)
Accolades: Former board of directors Chair - Society for Photographic Education; Apple Distinguished Educator
Currently residing in: Twin Lakes, Wisconsin (but between the fall semesters at UGA Cortona and my Italy Photography workshops, I’m lucky to be able to spend 4 or so months in Italy every year.)
Tell us a little more about your career path.
I’ve been involved in photography since I was 8 years old. Viewing the world through a camera’s lens became my way of exploring and involving myself in life’s flow and flux. That involvement led to a life where I was able to never have any significant work experiences that were outside of the world of photography. Teaching was a natural extension of sharing my passion for lens-based images.
Let's talk about Cortona. What is one of your favorite memories from your time there?
Cortona has helped me learn about the intricacies and joys of small-town living. Rather than saying that I have one favorite memory, I can say that I’ve been able to form relationships and come to a greater understanding of how important community is in our daily lives.
How has Cortona influenced how you live or work today?
Well, back in the US, we (my wife Mary Pat and I) have moved from a large urban area to a small-town in Wisconsin. We also spend a lot of time in a *very* small (200 people in the summer, 40 in the winter) town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We have discovered the power of small.
Speaking of influences, if you could have dinner with any three people, from history or alive today, who would you pick?
A tough question, but I’d probably choose Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Gandhi. I think it would be a very interesting conversation.
Before we go, what are you currently working on? Any projects or announcements you would like to share?
Over my last couple of times teaching in Cortona, I’ve been working on a project of portraits of native Cortonese. And, I’m always working on planning my Italy Photography Workshops - my 2019 workshops are currently full, but I’m already working on destinations for 2020.