041420: Afternoon Light

Late afternoon rays of sun cutting through heavy wafting smoke in my studio. Seemed like a good opportunity to play and explore. These first five images are the result of that little exercise.




This last one, upon completion, seemed to reflect the times – suggesting airborne toxin. And that got me thinking about my friends in Florence and the difficulties of their predicament (so similar now to our own).

So I couldn’t help but think about my times there, shooting the street shrines that always capture my attention as well as the many opportunities I have had to photograph the fossils in the Museum of Natural History.

A mollusk, a gastropod, an anemone, and lastly the skull of a whale.






I’ll finish today’s post with a few of my favorite Florence sights – Galileo’s Tomb in the rear of Santa Croce…

The Duomo dwarfing the nearby side streets…

…and lastly the Sant’ Ambrogio Market where the best of everything can be found!

Thanks for the visit. Stay safe.

0324: A Spring Break


Another walk starts off this week’s post. It was an overcast early Spring afternoon that got me up and away from the computer – a break from all the Florence images that have had me tied up lately. A need for nature not pixels! The lichen was a good start.


The garden showed me some things new…


…and some things old.


Some shapes reminded me of other shapes.

Some images reminded me of other images.


And that brought me back to the computer – which led to this mix.


Crustacean 1, La Specola


Crustacean 2, La Specola


Stairwell, Bardini Gardens


Tools of Mosaic Artist


Jupiter and Saturn, Orrery, Galileo Museum


Gastropod, Florence Museum of Natural History


Santa Maria della Spina, Pisa


San Miniato al Monte, Florence


Virgin with Child and Bicycles, Florence


Vasari’s Vision of Hell, Duomo, Florence


Thanks for the visit.

0317: Walking around Florence


The visual delights of Florence are legendary – the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, etc. The artwork, both inside the many museums and outside in the many piazzas, are certainly an eyeful. But so too is almost every small side street. Graffiti and street art is often clever and thoughtful (There is also, unfortunately, plenty of awful spray paint graffiti).IMG_9372_01_LR_12

Turning a corner might yield the sight of a Renaissance mural juxtaposed against modern life. Peeking in a window near the Duomo shows a workshop where artisans keep up centuries old traditions.


A stroll through a graveyard (San Miniato al Monte) showed unique headstones…


…and a most interesting crypt.


And then there is a very clever artist (or artists) at work who turns simple traffic signs into amusing and sometimes provocative statements…


…little visual asides that you catch out of the corner of your eye…


…but linger in your head…


…along with a smile lingering on your face!




I had to include some fossils today, so I thought this little selection would work nicely.


These are gastropods from the fossil collection of the Paleontology section of the Florence Museum of Natural History.


They relate to an upcoming exhibition that will open at the museum in May. More on that as the date approaches.




I did manage to take a break from working all of my Florence files to come up with something new at the studio. Ironically, new shooting began with my Moroccan trilobite (above) which I found in a Florence flea market! And, below, something I brought back from a walk in the woods yesterday.


Thanks for the visit.

0211: Notes From Florence


Ten days into our thirty day stay in Florence and I’m beginning to think it’s not enough time to explore everything on my list. Thanks to my very dear friends at the Museum of Natural History I have been able to immerse myself in the natural sciences…




…already shooting fossils (from the Paleontological Section)…



…butterflies and beetles (from the Entomology Department)…



artifacts from James Cook’s third and final voyage through the Pacific (from the Anthropology Section), and a host of others soon to be addressed.

This is just a quick, early edit. In the meantime, though, here are some shots from the street – not the usual travel photos! Some of my favorite street art exists in Italy. And Florence has plenty of wonderful examples:





And finally, a couple more from the street. The first is a boy in the local park returning from the latest Star Wars Movie.


Our evenings are not complete until our after dinner stroll for gelato when we pass under the watchful eye of Dante, standing over Piazza Santa Croce.


Thanks for the visit.

More to come!

0911: This Time Last Year


It was exactly one year ago Cindy and I were departing to Florence and my show at the Natural History Museum. I find Florence to be on my mind often these days. At any given moment I could imagine myself there. For now, though, we’re heading somewhere closer to home tomorrow – far up the Maine coast – for a brief trip now that my Beacon show has just come down. So there will be no blog posting next week – hopefully some fresh new work upon our return.


But for now let me reflect briefly on the events of last September. We worked hard to get the Florence show up.


It paid off in a multitude of ways. We had a great turnout. The work was viewed in two rooms of the museum, one of which had never previously been open to the public.

IMG_1152_LR_8 copy

We made new friends


And strengthened our existing friendships


All under the watchful gaze of a familiar face


under a full moon (hanging over Santa Croce)


with the Duomo always in view.


The street shrines always capture my attention.






Everywhere one looks


there is beauty


Always plenty to shoot.

Thanks for the visit.

0123: Plodding Along


Winter sunrise through my bedroom window this morning. It’s during those early morning hours, with temperatures as low as they have been, that I find it particularly challenging to break free from my warm and cozy bed to face the day! That’s more a simple observation than it is a complaint (or even an irritant, for that matter). During the worst that Winter offers, I live in a warm home. Unfortunately, that is not the case for far too many.


I’ve been busy lately with applications and proposals for the upcoming year – a task that has me sitting at the computer (right next to my indispensable portable heater) – trolling through my photo libraries and previous posts, looking at fresh combinations of images to piece together.


Early results are promising. These two images sprung from a series of scientific devices I photographed at the Vatican Museum.




This trolling managed to also take me through my recent Italian images, giving a second look at some of the more offbeat images I had already passed on. Here are a couple that require a closer look:


In keeping with my Street Shrine series I couldn’t pass up this version of the Madonna – a childlike pencil scribble – the simplified version, if you will.


And then there was this street sign – I’m not exactly sure what it represents. But I’m sure it means something to someone.


This next group of four images are the result of nervous energy, I am sure. While waiting to give a talk at the Natural History Museum, my back-and-forth pacing in the back rooms led to these:









I’ll finish off today’s post with a few more images from my sessions at the Museum of the Earth and PRI‘s immense collection:







Thanks as always for the visit.

030813 – Great News from Florence

IMG_8525_01_LR_10I am very happy to announce that plans are under way and a date has been set for a solo show of my fossil images at the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy. It will open on September 20 of this year in the Geology and Palaeontology Division. It is an honor to have been asked and I regard this as a true highlight of my career. I’ll have much to share about this event in coming days and much to reflect upon. For now though, before anything else is said, I would like to thank Dr. Elisabetta Cioppi and Dr. Stefano Dominici for their kindness and thoughtfulness. Their desire, and my hope, is to use my images as a point of entry to the world of invertebrate fossils, many of which will be on display as part of the exhibit.IMG_8967_01b_LR_10Of course, all of this will necessitate another trip to Florence, a city that overwhelms the senses in so many ways. The museums leave one speechless. The history of art, the Renaissance, the early appreciation and melding of art and science, all become part of the air one breathes from the moment you arrive.IMG_8655_01_LR_10The churches are magnificent, from Santa Croce to the tower of the Duomo. IMG_8623_01_LR_10  _______________IMG_8406_01But it’s the streets that are so captivating. At every turn modern day coexists with the past. They bump up against each other and, in the fight for space, choose to coalesce into something most unique.IMG_9427_01_LR_10Graffiti and posters, mopeds and delivery trucks share space with ornate fountains and architectural elements hundreds of years old.IMG_8782_01_LR_10IMG_9412_01_LR_10Sometimes the graffiti is subtle. Sometimes the posters slap you in the face.IMG_9504_01a_LR_10And then there are times when it converses with the ever present religious imagery.IMG_9420_01_LR_10Street shrines often appear in the most unlikely places, thanks once again to the historical density.IMG_9417_01_LR IMG_9525_01_LR_12 IMG_9407_01_LR IMG_9523_01_LR_10And then there’s always a sweet little visual surprise around the next corner when you least expect it!IMG_8786_01_LR_10One final note – For anyone in the Woodstock, NY area – two of my Paris images will hang in two openings at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum – 4 PM on Saturday. Please drop by.

Thank you as always for visiting this site. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

More From Italy

Halloween is coming so I thought the opening image would be appropriate. According to latest weather reports we in the NorthEast might be visited by the “perfect storm.” Between that and the last several days of overcast and periodic rain I’m staying close to the studio waiting for dryer days. Plenty to keep me busy though. With such a vast wealth of subject matter at my disposal I often find myself moving quickly from one new discovery to the next. And one of the results is that promising images are forgotten (or at least set aside for “a rainy day!”)


So today I am revisiting my photo library and returning to my work last year in Italy. The fossil images displayed come from my time photographing the collection at the Natural History Museum of Florence. These six images are interspersed with other images from that trip. No particular rhyme or reason other than that they, like so many other images buried in the library, deserve a viewing. Nothing more to say other than I hope you enjoy!












Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage https://artandfossils.wordpress.com