George Tatge, Lux International Photographer / Florence, Italy
George Tatge is a professional photographer living in Florence, Italy. In the following Fine Magazine interview, Mr. Tatge describes his 40+ years residing in Umbria and Tuscany, his continually evolving and well-respected career in photography, and how he came to be a part of the Lux of Naples team.
Q–How did Italy come into the picture?
I had a strong connection to Italy via my mother and relatives living there, so when I completed school I convinced my college sweetheart to come with me “for a year or so.” We spent a year in Rome and then moved to a small magnificent hill town in Umbria, called Todi; we ended up staying for 12 years. At that point I had made a name for myself in Italy and was asked to take the position of Director of Photography at the Alinari Archives in Florence. I did
that for about 16 years until I returned to free-lance work about 12 years ago. So it has been more than 40 years we have lived here, with two great children who came along for the ride.
Q–What sort of photography do you practice?
A–I began photographing mostly people but then moved on to landscape and architecture. I work with a 5×7 view camera. They are not images that document as one might imagine, but metaphors that speak of emotional and psychological states. I worked exclusively in black/white until a few years ago when I pushed myself to work in color. Most of my professional work had always been in color
(obviously adapting to the digital revolution) but only recently was I able to break through in my own personal work. My latest show Italia metafisica will begin its tour in June, 2016 after opening in Florence during 2015. The catalog won an IPA (International Photogaphy Award) in NYC in October, 2015. If you care to look at what I do just go to http://www.georgetatge.com.
Q–And your commercial work?
A–I do a lot of work in museums (painting and sculpture), something I did when I directed Alinari. I also work for architectural magazines such as Architectural Digest and Vogue doing interiors. For 10 years I did the calendar for the Deutz tractor company in Germany, a great job, photographing beautiful landscapes with tractors in the foreground.
Q–How did you connect with Mark Riley and Lux of Naples?
A–We kept our home in Todi even after moving to Florence. It’s an amazing house dating back to the 13th century with brick floors, beamed ceilings, columns and arches, and a big garden, all restored with the tasteful suggestions of my dear friend, the sculptor Beverly Pepper, who still lives near Todi. She turned it into a modern space, yet still conserving the medieval structure. One of our first renters was an Italy-loving lawyer named Richard Ellison and his wife Paula. We had a lovely lunch in Florence during their stay in Todi (with Paula
and son Karl), and have remained friends ever since. Rich decided to join his wife working for their friend Mark Riley at his real estate business. When Mark decided to expand his work to this side of the Atlantic, Rich suggested he contact me. We met in Florence and hit it off beautifully. I have helped Mark connect with many property owners, and have become Lux’s official photographer.