Tag Archives: St. Peter’s Basilica

More Tiny Contact Prints

Here is the continuation of the tiny prints series. All of these are still from Rome, again the Lomo Belair X6-12 as the camera of choice. I was having a conversation yesterday with a friend about these and while sharing them online is great, seeing scans of them at what ends up being a much larger size than the actual print, they lose some of their impact.

This is a statue of the Archangel Michael, in the Castel Sant’Angelo. His body is stone but the wings are bronze.

Archangel Michael, Castel Sant'Angelo
Archangel Michael, Castel Sant’Angelo

The umbrella pine image is one of those that when I scanned the negative and worked with the image in Photoshop, all the “flaws” of the negative become quite apparent, and you start thinking it’s not a successful image. But contact printed, it cleans up nicely and really sings.

Roman Umbrella Pine
Roman Umbrella Pine

St. Peter’s Basilica Facade. This is one of the images that made me respect the Belair and its results more than I did initially. It’s still not going to ever match a serious panorama camera like a Horseman 6×12 with a highly corrected glass lens, but it does a great job for what it is, and certainly it scores extremely well in the value-for-money proposition – I got mine used for $200, whereas a used Horseman would set you back closer to $2000.

St. Peter's Facade
St. Peter’s Facade

The plaza in front of St. Peter’s was set up for a Papal Mass when I was there. The sea of folding chairs made for an interesting composition, leading your eye back to the obelisk and beyond.

St. Peter's Plaza
St. Peter’s Plaza

These are the famous three remaining columns of the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum. This one really strikes me because of the simple, graphic nature of the subject. It’s another one of those images that everyone photographs when they’re at the Forum, and everyone knows it, even if you haven’t ever been to the Forum. Printing in platinum/palladium takes it somewhere new and different and it doesn’t feel like just another tourist image.

Three Columns, Temple of Vesta, Roman Forum
Three Columns, Temple of Vesta, Roman Forum

All these images are platinum/palladium prints, in this case all are a 50/50 blend of platinum and palladium, on the new wonderful Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag paper. I’m going to have to try a pure platinum print with it next and see how it behaves.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican

It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by St. Peter’s – the space is so vast, even when full of tourists it doesn’t shrink down.

The baldacchino over the high altar at St. Peter’s is one of the more recognizable objects. Cast from bronze allegedly taken from the roof of the Pantheon, it was designed by Bernini (remember the staircase from earlier?) and marks not only the center of the crossing under the dome, but the grave of St. Peter. While one of its alleged functions is to provide a bit of human scale to the vast space of the basilica, it is so massive that it only compresses the space if there are no people around to provide comparison.


This view into the transept from the crossing with the people in the foreground I think really helps give you a sense of scale for the place.

Crossing the Nave, St. Peter's
Crossing the Nave, St. Peter’s

This is a view of the entrance with its two clocks, as seen from the mid-nave.

St. Peter's Entrance, Clocks
St. Peter’s Entrance, Clocks

On a separate but related note, it’s interesting how we refer to Rome and the Vatican interchangeably when we speak of the seat of the Catholic Church, when in fact they are two distinct entities. This was not always true, of course- especially during the Renaissance through the early 19th century, it was literal truth to say that Rome was the papal seat. Now, of course, the Vatican is in fact not only a separate city within the city of Rome, but in fact a separate nation, complete with its own passports. The Vatican is in fact the world’s smallest country.

Confessionals, St. Peter’s Basilica

While exploring St. Peter’s basilica, I saw this amazing light falling on the confessional booths, which were in themselves magnificent pieces of furniture. Something about them feels a little ominous, though, don’t you think? Or perhaps a touch funerary.

Confessionals, St. Peters
Confessionals, St. Peters

Even though I’m not myself Catholic, I don’t know that I’d want to give confession in that confessional booth- it would feel a little bit too direct.