Someone asked me to write a blog in order to make the site more interesting, and maybe because they knew that my days were full of downtimes. I spent a few hours in front of the PC and I created my first article, “Nothing interesting here”, a title that was supposed to be temporary, but which later turned out to be ideal not only to tell something about my photos but also to tell even something about me.
“There is nothing interesting here” was a phrase that probably I use to repeat frequently after I returned from my period abroad, and that I kept repeating myself even during the first years I began to get interested in photography. It was frustrating to see photos from every corner of the world which gave me the idea that anything I could find compelling or interesting was outside, not even of Italy, but even of the region where I was born and raised. I realized I had worn blinders for a long time only last year.
I could say many authors have inspired me and they still keep me reflecting on what I have on the other side of my lens, but the truth is I started to photograph gas stations and other boring and useless things because I needed a lot of time for myself (time which may be productive and which made me stay as little as possible in contact with people), and also cause my car trips were particularly long and frequent. Certainly, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld with their large format work made me understand there could be something to photograph even outside big cities, and they made me understand how all this should be photographically represented. There is a very interesting quote from Shore in his book “Uncommon Places”, where he explains how important it is to include cars in photographs: “I remember thinking that it’s important to put cars in photographs because they are like time. And I learned this from looking at Evans “
From this point, I began to carry a film camera with me during almost all my travels and car trips in Italy.
Lombardy has proved to be a peculiar region: strongly industrialized, in some ways “modern”, but totally outside stereotypes of Italianness with which we still relate. I think there are less “Route 66 Restaurant” in the United States than here.
I find particularly fascinating how globalization and all the changes following the Italian economic miracle have transformed the urbanization process of Italian province in a unique way, profoundly influenced from outside, but in its own way a symbol of a new type of province. And the same goes for what I managed to see during my travel in Southern Italy (where I hope to come back as soon as possible), although in a very different and less aggressive way.
Commercial activities, houses, even light poles, not only are able to define how we manage our space but also how we build relationships with our similar and with nature, defining by that our cultural identity. I’m recently trying to photograph insignias: I found it’s interesting the communication way of local and also major activities (commercial and not), it can say a lot about a specific region.
This work anyway, allows me to take my car, drive away 50 km, and explore a territoriality that before seemed absolutely monotonous and common and now, instead, appears completely new and unknown, and I hope, with my photos, to give it a new value