Twelve-Tone Photography is the visual research of Marco Annaratone and Hanni Cerutti and is located in the Kreativ Fabrik in Berlin Schöneberg. Both born in Milan, Italy, Hanni and Marco have spent almost two decades in the US, and shorter periods in Switzerland, Italy, and now Germany. Before focusing on fine-art photography, Hanni and Marco have worked in quite different professional fields. Marco initially worked in academia, where he was involved in computer science research. He then moved to industry to manage product and business development in corporations and startups in the IT industry. He also worked in venture capital for several years. Hanni studied German literature (M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh) and the application of technology in education (Ed.M. from Harvard). After teaching at universities she joined industry to become an international marketing communication manager. Hanni has been recently appointed Assistant Professor of Ikebana by the Kyoto-based Ikenobo school. She is a member of the San Francisco Chapter.
Entry description: We want to challenge two established norms in our visual research, i.e., the invariance of color temperature and that of exposure (except for burning and dodging) across the picture. We call this technique “photosequencing.” Turning constant parameters into variable ones is nothing new in art. In fact, we have a most appropriate musical example in atonality. Just as atonal music modulated (the rigidity of) tonality, we modulate here (the rigidity of) color temperature and exposure. Atonality may have produced a corpus of music that will survive the filter of time with considerable difficulty. In fact, we believe that an invaluable contribution may not be in its own very output but in breaking barriers, thus providing the ecosystem that allowed other music to be created. In fact, Steve Reich once wrote of atonality: "The reality of cadence to a key or modal center is basic in all the music of the world …… Any theory of music that eliminates these realities is doomed to a marginal role in the music of the world. The postman will never whistle Schönberg. This does not mean Schönberg was not a great composer — clearly he was. It does mean that his music (and the music like his) will always inhabit a sort of “dark little corner” off by itself in the history of all the world’s music." (Steve Reich, Writings on Music 1965-2000, p.186-187.) There is no question in our mind that photosequencing will end up inhabiting that “dark little corner off by itself,” as Reich said. It would be presumptuous of us to compare photosequencing to atonality, being the intellectual depth of the two so immensely different. Photosequencing, though, shares with the latter the rejection of entrenched norms that have no rational justification except for the — undoubtedly formidable — strength of tradition. In photosequencing we operate on an image by modulating – or sequencing, hence the name – the color temperature and the amount of light. This produces two effects that have been exploited in this project. The former is to deconstruct the image field. We have used this to convey our feeling of suspension and awe - but most of all of disorientation and vertigo - when experiencing the great sceneries of the American South-West. The latter is the introduction of time into the image field: light and color temperature change as the day progresses. This “time within the frame” puts the viewer in a state we call “tranquil unease.” Again, the visual experience when looking at the ‘photosequenced’ pictures resonated quite closely with the mesmerizing sensations we experienced. If photosequencing were only one – admittedly interesting – experiment we would not have reported it. We did because it helped our picture taking, as the landscapes we captured of the imposing sceneries of the South-West failed to convey our emotions. Photosequencing made this possible. The strong chromatic signature does limit its applicability, but photosequencing was quite successful in “Deconstructing the American South-West.” The size of the photographs ranges from A3 to large panoramas (4 ft x 7 ft).