Fun with photogravure

For the past five years, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) has served as one of the city’s foremost cultural institutions. Recently relocated to a new location in downtown Tampa, FMoPA promotes the art of photography through its array of classes and lectures, as well as its extensive collection of photographic masterpieces. First and foremost, FMoPA aims to educate the Tampa Bay area on the historic and artistic significance of photographic art – its latest exhibition, which highlights one of photography’s seminal techniques, particularly focuses on this objective.

Opening Friday night and running through Jan. 28, “Technology Into Art: The Photogravure From 1850 to Today” is a collaboration between FMoPA and the University’s Graphicstudio and features artworks from several high-profile collections, including The Drapkin Collection, the USF Library Special Collections, Graphicstudio, and the USF Contemporary Art Museum. A combination of printmaking and photography, photogravure was a key element in perpetuating the rise of photography in the 1800s. Today, it offers artists a distinctive alternative to modern photographic techniques.

Noel Smith, curator of education at Graphicstudio, and Deli Sacilotto, its emeritus director of research, have personally selected each piece included in the exhibit.

“In the Tampa Bay area, we have collections that contain important and beautiful photogravures made since the process’ invention in the 1850s until now,” Smith said. “We are very lucky, and we were able to draw from them a depth of works that demonstrates how artists have responded to this technique and made exceptional works of art.”

In addition to celebrating photogravure, the exhibit aims to pay tribute to Sacilotto’s remarkable career. An internationally recognized expert on photogravure, he recently retired after 38 years of service at Graphicstudio.

“I wanted to recognize Deli’s contribution with a beautiful exhibition,” Smith said. “It is in his honor, but it is also in the honor of the artists and the collectors who have appreciated this process and its value.”

Sacilotto will join Smith on Sunday at 2 p.m. for an in-depth discussion on the exhibit.

“Using the works displayed, we’ll discuss the history and technical aspects of the process and talk about particular works,” Smith said. “Anyone who comes will learn to distinguish photogravures from other processes and learn to appreciate the finer points. We hope to infect others with our passion.”

Smith believes that the exhibit is likely to inspire attendees, especially due to the technique’s distinct and historically significant characteristics.

“Photogravures are permanent – they last hundreds of years without fading,” she said. “They have a lovely matte surface because they are printed on rag paper. They have a tremendous tonal range; and they also capture incredible detail.”

Joanne Milani, FMoPA’s director, remains steadfastly confident that FMoPA’s latest endeavor will also contribute greatly to the museum’s goals, predominantly its educational aspirations.

“We want to educate the public on what photogravure is,” Milani said. “This is a great way to show an aspect of photography that’s not usually showcased.”

While admission to the exhibit itself is free, the discussion costs $5 for non-members of the museum; FMoPA members attend at no charge. For more information on the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, visit