Keeping with the theme of Reunion, these photographs present a young shepherd bringing together her flocks for the evening. The pictures are drawn from a body of work titled La Cultura dell’Agricoltura. Based in the Puglian campagna of southern Italy, the images examine the everyday life of this agrarian landscape. If you were told that the stone walls, pens, and shelters that divide and punctuate fields are naturally occurring, you could almost believe it, they seem so organically to grow from the earth. Likewise the people who work and shape that land can seem as manifestations of a rich and ancient spirit that permeates the region. As challenging as daily life can be in the countryside, the strength and grace of its stewards and the poetry of the spaces they create through cultivation can provide a glimpse of the numinous for those who are looking.
Joe Vitone is a documentary fine art photographer and educator living in Austin, Texas. His work consists of large format portraiture and landscape in the United States as well as photographs examining cultures abroad. He is Professor of Photocommunications at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas where he has lived with his family since 1991. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in photography and been a Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica as well as a Fulbright Specialist in the Puglia region of southern Italy. In both Costa Rica and Italy, Vitone’s work centers around small-scale family based agriculture and life in the countryside. In addition to presentations given in the United States, he has lectured on his photography in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Vitone’s work is held in a number of collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Museum of Fine Art, Budapest, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.