Award winning photographic artist Pete Caluori, derives his inspiration from the world around him. Born and raised in the northeastern United States, he now lives in the west and is in love with the natural beauty that has not yet succumbed to industrial man. His photography is a reflection of that love and is represented in a myriad of historical photographic processes, which is one of the reasons he doesn’t describe himself as a "photographer". He says, “Photography to most people today, conjures up images of people taking ‘grab shots’ with their camera phones or a person using some form of SLR to photograph a wedding.”

Pete (as his friends know him) considers image making something different. He recalls reading Ansel Adams’ writing about previsualization – that’s where the photographer envisions the scene he or she is about to shoot as distinct tonalities of gray, then makes and processes the photograph based on that previsualization. Having tried this, Pete found that form of previsualization did not work for him, instead Pete previsualizes a scene in terms of final output. That output could be color or monochrome, alternative process or conventional process, digital output or analog output. He finds that limiting oneself to just a single process or form of output, as some artists do, is way too limiting.

In order to fulfill his vision, Pete uses many different cameras from ULF (ultra large format – commonly regarded as any camera larger than 8x10) to digital. His absolute favorite formats are 8x20, 8x10 and 6x17. While a digital capture can produce impressive results, he believes that digital is best reserved for advertising, photojournalism and anywhere immediate results are required. For the type of work Pete does, film and his large cameras are his tools of choice. “You need an awful lot of pixels to capture the same information as a large piece of 12 x 20 inch film. Besides, without a negative, most of the historical processes are out of the question unless you can make a digital negative, which raises an entirely different set of issues.” He holds no bias towards any form of image making, because “…after all, making the image is what it’s all about.”

Processes that Pete has or is working with include: silver gelatin, Cibachrome – now Ilfochrome, chromogenic prints, digitally output carbon ink prints, and historical (a.k.a. alternative or alt) processes - Van Dyke (his personal favorite), platinum, palladium, albumen, Kallitypes, salted paper, gum oil, and Polaroid image transfers. One of the things he likes best about alt process and digital output is that the substrate can be varied; prints can be made on paper, metal, canvas, silk or just about anything. He is constantly on the prowl to learn, this isn’t a search for the elusive ‘magic bullet’; no, it’s just his insatiable thirst to learn. On his to-do list are to learn and become proficient with true carbon printing, ambrotypes and gum prints.

Pete is not satisfied with ‘labels’, but when pinned down he describes his photography as a mixture of Fine Art, Landscape, Americana, and Architectural decay. Whatever strikes a chord in him he tries to capture. He has great respect for the likes of William Henry Jackson and Edward S. Curtis (two early American photographers who photographed the western US in the late 1800’s.) “These guys ventured into the west with glass plates and chemicals to make photographs at a time when simple mistakes could cost one their life. It isn’t like either of these guys could have stopped at the local store to buy supplies or hit the nearest convenience store for a cold drink. Anyone who has spent any time in the vast wilderness of the American west knows what I’m taking about. ”

The images that appear on Pete’s web site - ShadesandColors, are just a tiny sampling of his work. Because he has so many ‘irons in the fire’, he doesn’t have time to scan and post all of his images. He offers prints for sale, but doesn’t believe in the classical approach to limited editions – all of his prints are limited by the very nature that he makes every one himself. All of his prints are numbered starting with number 1 and continue, with the first few work prints remaining in his files or going to close friends and being marked as AP – artist’s proofs. In conventional terms this is considered an open edition, but since he makes all of his own prints it is unlikely that any one image will ever see very many repeat printings – usually less than 10. The one exception is digitally output prints. Due to the very nature of the output medium, there can be many repeat printings and these will probably be numbered, or limited in the conventional sense. Pete is always working on new projects; his latest two are the majestic canyons of Utah and America in ruin – the abandoned ruins of the late 19th and early 20th centuries scattered across the American west and the ancient ruins left by the native Americans.

Pete says his “wonderful Darling and soul mate” came up with the name for his site and he thinks it like her is ”perfect”. It describes his vision, because he says “the world isn’t just black and white! Some things are shades of gray and other things are full of color.” Pete hopes you enjoy the site and he recommends you check back frequently as the content will be constantly added to, updated and changed. He suggests you contact him if you are looking for something specific, have feedback, or wish to discuss anything photographic.