In the spring of 2007 I was invited to teach photography to design students as part of the Design in Rome program at the University of Washington. The program ran in mid August to late September. Besides classroom work and critiques, there were daily field trips to historic sites, churches, and museums.  In my free time I roamed the city making whatever imagery caught my attention. Rome was new to me in European travels and I was almost over whelmed by the beauty and history of the city. What started as a one-time adventure became five years of travel every summer to the Eternal City. I always stayed in the same apartment in Trastevere, across the river from the UW Rome Center in Campo di Fiori. I had my morning cappuccino at the same bar, and had the same bomba con crema to go with my coffee. My work there became about capturing a sense of place, and what made it different than other great cities of the world. Yes, I captured the usual landmarks, but what really interested me was found on the back streets and alleys off the beaten paths of the tourists.  I was fascinated by the light, mostly, and how it illuminated the signage and pastel walls. The graffiti was jarring at first, but I would embrace it, seeing it as part of the texture of the ancient, crumbling walls. I never tired of looking out my apartment window, all times of day, just seeing what was happening on the streets below. I suppose in the simplest sense, my work there was about observations. About observing the Italian way of life, the Roman way of life, and it’s century’s old traditions, and to capture that way of life with my camera. I recall my first impression of Rome was that it reminded me of Paris, only older and scruffier. Everywhere was crumbling buildings and walls. Thus it became my mission to find beauty in the decay and celebrate all things Italian.