Oggetto ricordi d’Italia (Mementos from Italy)

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

My father-in-law, Joseph Toglia (the “G” is silent) is from a little town (on a big mountain) in Italy called Pescopagano (in the province of Potenza). He is one of 5 siblings – falling between two older brothers and two younger sisters.
Joseph (or Giuseppe) emigrated to the U.S. in 1954, and, before retiring, was Professor of Neurology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Below is a photograph I made several years ago of Joseph with his beloved tractor.

Photographer Harold Ross' Light Painted Image, Joseph Toglia

Joseph Toglia, Photograph by Harold Ross
His father (Antonio) was also an amazing man; he wore many hats, as was more common 80-100 years ago (and in a rural mountainous town) than it might be today.
He and his wife owned a general store, complete with a gas station, and he was a blacksmith, as well as the town’s pharmacist!
And it doesn’t stop there; he also practiced veterinary medicine and surgery, and was knowledgable in botany (probably due to his practicing pharmacology), as well as being an electrician!
Not long ago, Antonio’s grandson gave me some of his grandfather’s possessions from those days; a set of brass weights, probably used with the pharmacy scale; and a coffee grinder, most certainly used in the general store.
I recently made some photographs (using light painting, of course) of these very old, but beautiful objects:
Photographer Harold Ross' Light Painted Image, Brass Scale Weights from Italy

Brass Scale Weights from Italy, Photograph by Harold Ross


Photographer Harold Ross' Light Painted Image, Italian Coffee Grinder

Italian Coffee Grinder, Photograph by Harold Ross

I believe that objects carry tremendous meaning, and the objects that were used daily by my wife’s grandfather and grandmother in Italy might even carry their spirit. In photographing these objects, I hope to somehow capture that spirit. – H.R.


For general workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.















~ by Harold Ross on May 6, 2018.

12 Responses to “Oggetto ricordi d’Italia (Mementos from Italy)”

  1. Beautiful images Harold!

  2. How is your father in law doing lately? I remember he wasn’t the best when I was there to see you in December. I was excited to see the tractor picture…I hope to do some outdoor light paintings now that it’s warmer and if I hurry, I can get in some before the swarms of summer mosquitoes hit. :)

    Hope you and Vera are well!


    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Naomi, thanks for your comment… He is actually doing quite well for a man of 91! He recovered very well from his illness back in December. He is busy feeding and watching birds in his yard. Good luck with the outdoor light painting!

  3. Heyyy Harold…wow nice to read you….i like a lot the story of the italians of your family, and I am very pleased that you tell them in detail, as if you had lived them, that you have also photographed with your pictorial cleverness the objects that come from an ancient, almost forgotten world.

    Those objects are full of meaning….. the fact of being used daily, make them really suitable for your art that still manages to place them over time.

    I would like to come to you in Pennsylvania … next year I will make a trip to America and for sure I will come to see you with my wife!!! I like the passion the energy and the humanity you put in your work, this explains your success … which is more important than anything else.

    Ciao friend…see u soon ;)


  4. Wonderful images. So nice to have such nice memories come alive!

    • Thank you Bonnie! Yes! I’m happy that my father-in-law was able to put the memories down on paper so that we would later know the history of these items! :-)

  5. Great image old the coffee grinder. I love that back then they didn’t feel the need to completely remove the parting line from the castings. And that you highlighted it! Hope you are well, say Hi to Vera for me.

  6. Great story, great lighting and amazing family heirlooms. I always look forward to your posts, Harold.

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