The Rolla Collection: Photography and

Following is part two of my interview with Phil Rolla, this time discussing his passion for photography and the creation of the museum dedicated to the art form,, just down the hill from him home in Bruzella, Switzerland., housed in a former kindergarten, is currently featuring the work Ruth Hallensleben.  She was a professional photographer who had worked for industrial concerns known to have built up the German war machine in the ’30s.  She shot factories, coal buckets and even wallpaper for corporate catalogs.  However, unlike Leni Riefenstahl, another prominent female German artist and filmmaker from the era, that is where her affiliation with National Socialism ended.  Phil was kind enough to take me on a personal tour of and discuss at length his love affair with photography and collecting philosophy.

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The Rolla Collection: Living with art

I have been so fortunate to been able to visit my Uncle Phil Rolla and his lovely wife Rosella many times over the years. Phil, my dad’s brother, was born in California but moved to Europe in the early ’60s to pursue his dream of applying his engineering degree to the boating industry, at the time centered along the Mediterranean. Ultimately, he establish a business designing and manufacturing the best boat propellers in the world, each handmade and a work of art in their own right.

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More cowbell!


I’ve been dying to write this headline since I arrived in the Valle de Muggia. I happened upon these gals on my morning run.

Just like Italy…only more perfect

I’ve just spent my first full day in Ticino, the Italian province of Switzerland, at my Uncle Phil’s house up in the tiny mountain village of Bruzella, situated between Como, in Italy, and Lugano, in Switzerland. A funny thing happens when you cross the border…everything kinda smooths out. The roads, the language, the wild gesticulating, and strangely, the food does too.

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Freaking out like Nicolas Cage!

It’s my last day on American soil for a while and I would be lying if I didn’t say it’s producing a bit of anxiety, not unlike sweaty Nic in this pic! It’s just a long time to be away and a lot to pack for weather that’s going to veer from the 80s to the 50s in a matter of a few weeks. Do I pack light or do I bring creature comforts? And then there’s that part about the language(s) I don’t speak. 30+ days in lands where I won’t be able to communicate! Someone asked me if I was going to find myself and I replied, “Actually, I think I’m gonna get a little lost!”

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