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TO JULY 19
Taking good photographs of Roman and Florentine architecture is like shooting fish in a barrel. That said, Federica Ragusin—an Italian-born photographer now working primarily in America—has assembled a nice collection of pesce. In her exhibition “Time Travels in Italy,” Ragusin makes fine use of a high-contrast approach. In Spanish Steps, Rome, she captures sunlight glinting so strongly off brick and marble that it turns the assembled pedestrians into featureless outlines of black. In Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Ragusin flips the conceit, photographing white marble statues against a dark background. Duomo, Florence (pictured) is a vertiginous take on the city’s most famous church, tracking its intricately carved facade with surprising clarity as it wends its way upward. And in View, San Gimignano, she documents a dark, receding wall without losing the textures of its individual stones. But Ragusin’s finest images are those that reproduce sculptural and architectural flourishes with slight spatial exaggerations. For instance, Head, Baptistry Doors, Florence zeroes in on a head-shaped doorhandle, but it allows the friezelike details on the entryway to recede into a pleasantly unfocused haze. And in Pantheon, Rome, Ragusin avoids cliche by using a lenticular distortion to turn the perfectly spherical dome into a smooth, oblong shape. Curator Gary Edwards has decided to include in the exhibition three well-executed photographs of Italian architecture from around 1870 that, when paired with Ragusin’s work, eloquently evoke the timelessness of her pursuit. The show is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, to Friday, July 19, at the Gary Edwards Gallery, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Free. (202) 232-5926. (Louis Jacobson)