Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fotoromanzo Italiano

Si racconta che l'ex segretario di Stato americano Henry Kissinger una volta abbia detto che per quanto fosse in grado di decifrare le oscure manovre del Cremlino, trovava impossibile comprendere le logiche della politica italiana.

Questo spiegherebbe lo smarrimento di molti nell'orientarsi tra le immagini contenute in Fotoromanzo Italiano, un archivio non ortodossso sulla storia e la cultura di massa del Bel Paese creato da cinque fotografi (Andrea Botto, Giorgio Barrera, Marco Citron, Maurizio Montagna e Marco Signorini).

"fotoromanzo italiano
è un progetto artistico in progress_
una riflessione sulla fotografia e sull'uso dell'immagine, oggi_
alle radici del nostro presente_
per costruire un immaginario_
o solo per rivelare un'illusione_ è l'azione 1_"

Buon anno a tutti voi.

It is told that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that while he was able to read into the obscure manoeuvres orchestrated within the Kremlin, he was helpless trying to understand the logics of Italian politics.

That would explain why you might find yourself wondering how to connect all the images gathered inside Fotoromanzo Italiano, an unorthodox archive about Italian history and mass culture started by five photographers (Andrea Botto, Giorgio Barrera, Marco Citron, Maurizio Montagna and Marco Signorini).

"fotoromanzo italiano
is an artistic project in progress_
an exploration about photography and the use of the image, today_
at the roots of our present_
to build up an imaginary_
or just to reveal an illusion_ is action no. 1_"

Happy New Year to you all.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Chasing a land

© Filippo Brancoli Pantera

"QD è un progetto collettivo in progress iniziato il 21 marzo 2011 e realizzato da 15 fotografi distribuiti su tutto il territorio italiano.
Gli autori intendono esplorare e raccontare in parallelo il proprio ambito urbano in una sorta di diario in cui le cifre stilistiche personali tendono a sfumare in uno sguardo comune e in cui le riflessioni sul fare fotografia si affiancano e si intrecciano alle immagini stesse."

Creato da Tommaso Perfetti, QD è un nuovo tentativo di contenere in una ricerca la complessità del paesaggio e dello spazio abitato d'Italia, un insieme di mondi distanti che più sfugge alla comprensione, più spinge a nuove imprese per cercare di afferrarlo.

Gabriele Rossi
, Marcello Mariana e Filippo Brancoli Pantera sono alcuni tra i fotografi coinvolti nel progetto.

© Gabriele Rossi

"QD is a collective project in progress launched on March 21, 2011 and made by 15 photographers located all over the Italian territory. The authors aim at exploring and depicting in parallel their respective urban environment, creating a diary in which the individual styles blur into a common gaze, and in which thoughts about making photography intertwine with the images themselves."

Created by
Tommaso Perfetti, QD is a new attempt to try to encompass the complexity of Italy's landscape and inhabited space - an elusive subject which the more it escapes comprehension, the more it pushes to new efforts to grasp it.

Gabriele Rossi, Marcello Mariana and Filippo Brancoli Pantera are among the photographers involved in the project.

© Marcello Mariana


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comparative photography

Michael Marten, Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall, 25 and 31 August 2007, High water 4.30pm, low water 2pm

"Sea Change is a study of the tides round the coast of Britain. The views in each diptych are taken from identical positions at low tide and high tide, usually 6 or 18 hours apart."

"Recent landscape photography often focuses on human shaping (and reshaping) of the environment - urbanisation, globalisation, pollution. Even when critical and committed, this approach can emphasise, even glamorise, humankind's power over nature. I'm interested in rediscovering nature's own powers: the elemental forces and processes that underlie and shape the planet".

Michael Marten

Michael Marten, Harbour-Berwickshire, 22 August 2005. Low water 11am, high water 6pm

Marten describes his work as an example of 'comparative photography', "where two or more images show changes in time (or other dimensions)". He then makes the example of Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters, a work I confess I did not know, a thirty-year-long series of portraits of Nixon's wife with her three sisters, which I think is the closest thing to a New Topographics of the heart.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

David Prifti | 1961 - 2011

Last October I wrote to a group of photographers to ask them to be part of what would have become the latest issue of Unless You Will, which editor Heidi Romano has released online at the beginning of December. With Heidi we decided to work on a selection of artists using alternative photographic processes and my thought went immediately to David Prifti, who created beautiful images using the wet collodion and the liquid emulsion techniques.

He never got back to me, until his wife Monika wrote to me earlier this month to let me know that David passed away after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Had I searched for more news about David I would have found out earlier that Monika had been writing a blog with updates about his conditions since the beginning of his treatment, and I would have read about all the support by his relatives, his students, his peers.

Even though his work could not be included in the magazine, I like to think that Unless You Will #19 is dedicated to his memory and his art, and our selection would remain incomplete without a look into David's fascinating world.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Cave of Many Colours

Brice Bischoff, Bronson Caves, 2009

Bronson Caves is the name of a series of photographs by New Orleans-born artist Brice Bischoff, where he records with long exposures performances executed in front of the homonimous caves in the Griffith Park in California, also home of the famous Hollywood sign on Mount Lee. Bischoff stages acts involving large coloured cardboards, which thanks to the long exposures become blurred mass of colours lingering in the air in front of the famous site.

Brice Bischoff, Bronson Caves, 2009

Cast & crew on unknown western in Bronson Canyon, with the Hollywood sign in the background

Over the decades the Bronson Caves have been the setting of countless movies and TV shows, mostly science fiction and western films, turning them into some kind of deposit of collective memories and fantasies (Bischoff himself provides us a list of movies shot in the caves in his blog - more info also here). Bischoff's images sum up perfectly the cave's iconic status, showing them as if they were inhabited by ghosts of colour, shapeless creatures created by our hazy childhood memories.

The Batmobile in front of Bat Cave, aka Bronson Caves, used in the Batman TV series. Front cover of The Explorer, August 2004


Saturday, December 17, 2011

European drama

Nicolas Dhervillers could be easily considered as the French version of Gregory Crewdson, sharing with the American superstar the same cinematographic light in scenes where characters wander or look around themselves surrounded by an eerie scenery.

But while Crewdson is mostly devoted to convey a certain kind of suburban angst and loneliness, Dhervillers is more interested in working on the layers of representation that can hide inside an image: his photographs from the series
My sentimental archives and Tourists consists of old photographs and snapshots merged with new landscapes made by him, fused together by lighting and digital manipulation.

All images © Nicolas Dhervillers