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Parting Shot: Francesco Mastalia 

click to enlarge Tao Porchon-Lynch - FRANCESCO MASTALIA
  • Francesco Mastalia
  • Tao Porchon-Lynch

No doubt you're familiar with the work of Rhinebeck-based photographer Francesco Mastalia. His Organic series and book, which chronicles the farmers of the Hudson Valley in wet-plate collodion portraits, rode a tidal wave of interest in the region to international interest and local saturation. Mastalia's current project, Yoga: The Secret of Life, documents the personal experiences of 108 of today's leading practitioners, including well-known names like Rodney Yee, David Life, Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon, Raghunath, and 97-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world's oldest yoga teacher. (Expect to see a book by the end of 2016.) As in Organic, Mastalia is using the 19th-century wet-plate collodion process for his yoga portraits. When asked why, the photographer explains that with the advent of digital photography, he sought greater connection to his tools through an antiquated, labor-intensive method. Mastalia understands that technology has its place, but not in his photography. "Human beings connect through our senses," says Mastalia. "Technology removes our senses from what we're doing. We're losing a human connection to things." This desire for sense-ation is present across Mastalia's work—in his close-ups of farmers, in his al fresco yogis, in his choice of medium—is a call for greater interaction on an intimate scale, where life tends to make more sense and the locus of meaning resides. Portfolio: Francescomastalia.com

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