The Memory of the Present is a photographic exploration of the Tuscan area of Italy, photographed in 2017 and 2018 in over 40 urban and suburban locations.
This ongoing project captures the most mundane and typical elements of landscape: countryside crossroads, vernacular architectures, river banks, memorial statues, ruins of ancient walls, postwar buildings infrastructure — things that could be seen in any Tuscan locality.
It’s also a work about collective memory and archetypes. The project focuses on the altered landscape, urban and rural in equal parts, trying to emerge to eyes and mind — the image of the everyday landscape that we tend unconsciously to suppress.
— Lorenzo Valloriani, Florence, Italy
The photographer Robert Adams mercilessly documented a rapidly-urbanizing 1970s Colorado — my home state — in the masterpieces What We Bought, The New West, and Denver. The urban landscapes of that era, often disturbingly indifferent to ecology yet appealingly unselfconscious in today’s context, are disappearing under a wave of redevelopment. These are a few fragments of the old spirit from Denver, Boulder and beyond.
— Larry Sykes, Denver, Colorado, USA
Salento without makeup, in the season of calm, clearly reveals the relationship between nature, as primary element, and place, as the result of cultural and instrumental elaboration of human action.
The seaboard is the physical and ideal boundary of the “Finibus Terrae,” and is where the contamination concept of the two components acquires a symbolic and intense symbolism.
“Finibus Terrae” is where are visible, often in a violent and contradictory manner, the signs of the human passage, egocentric and obtuse, and driven by an exclusive economic impulse. Lasting traces of a culture weakened and polluted by the arid dynamics of the market.
In this period of the year, in days veiled by a sky covered with a light layer of clouds, emerges an atmosphere of expectation and suspense. That atmosphere seems refer to a hope for a future that will happen; but that hope turns soon into resignation. The destiny of these places is now written in indelible signs of permanent and invasive modification of the human passage.
“Finibus Terrae” investigates Salento, Italy, a geographical place, and a physical limit too, where the land meets the sea; where the writing of places is rarefied; when this writing action fades absorbed by an increasingly engulfing urbanization.
— Adriano Nicoletti, Parabita, Lecce, Italy
I lived in Southern California and the Nevada desert for a decade. This series started during my Christmas trip to visit my daughter. I developed appendicitis and was hospitalized for several days. I couldn’t really walk much afterwards and started shooting near by. In Nevada we would often visit these types of sites, always aware of the weather and flash flood conditions. I’d say half of my work is in the desert. Sometimes before going out on a photo trip we watch Gunsmoke or Bonanza — just to get the feel again! I grew up on westerns and felt right at home when I arrived.
My love of dry desert creeks and underground streams started as soon as I moved to the Southwest. Standing in these dry creek beds you can “hear” the water flowing, but it is really the sound of the wind flowing through the rock beds. In the flatter areas you find the stream bed by waiting and looking for a visual clue that signals the path long unused. As a child growing up in the woods of the Northeast I often followed animal trails through the wood. Broken branches, hard pressed dirt, lesser density of bush gave away the path.
Santiago Creek, where I now find myself, stretches across Orange County, California, for about 34 miles. The stream appears and disappears, sometimes hard to navigate. It starts its life between Santiago Peak, the highest peak in the county, and Modjeska Peak, which together form the prominent Saddleback of the Santa Ana Mountains, often visible from the creek bed itself. Its headwater rises towards the Santa Anna river, first running south-southwest toward Portola Hills before turning northwest. Downstream it receives Baker and Silverado Creeks and then after Santiago Canyon Road the gorge widens to a broad alluvial plain. The banks are now visible in the distance. The flow of water is limited to this upper stretch; below water flows underground except during the winter and early spring. Still, along its path water can percolate and sit on the surface. Following this path brings about a sense of knowing where I am.
— Jim Roche, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) garnered national and international attention and consternation as a result of protests from members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and numerous Native and Non-Native supporters.
For individuals such as myself who grew up in a suburban environment, massive infrastructure projects such as the DAPL are abstractions. I benefit from the resources they transport and the costs of such delivery systems are born by others in far away places. As an increasing number of Americans locate to coastal settings, my own experience is shared by many.
Beginning in the fall of 2016 I followed the pipeline route in North Dakota and photographed the landscapes it traversed, creating a project I call Views from DAPL.
I wanted to see what construction looked like at the landscape-level and view the range and agricultural landscapes reshaped by its insertion. These landscapes aim to highlight what literally forms a backbone of our national landscape and economy.
Meghan Kirkwood, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA
This series, called Open, started with the vacant lot in Near Grinders and has grown into a vague contemplation on what is “open-ness.” The photos loosely represent or are precipitated by the various meanings of the word. Some are open in an architectural sense: space contained by enclosing walls or elements. Some are open in the sense of “allowing passage.” Some are open as in “undetermined.” Some capture opposing or over-lapping aspects of openness, as in “open to the elements,” but “closed to trespassers.”
— Aaron Dougherty, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Agios Ioannis Rentis is a suburb of Piraeus, the large port near Athens. It is divided into a residential area, which occupies a small part of the ground, and the industrial area, which is occupied by powerful Greek companies. The tall walls are the distinct boundaries between the two regions.
A few steps away, the unspoiled vegetation has the role of the dead zone. During the weekdays, the industrial site is characterized by the intense mobility of human resources, machinery and therefore noise pollution. In the Golden Peak series, I stood in places we usually pass by and I faced them as being photogenic landscapes. It was a long pause, a chance to think.
— Ilias Lois, Athens, Greece
The Lassithi plateau, situated at 840 meter above sea level on the island of Crete, is a natural fortress with a particularly fertile land, surrounded by mountains. History runs deep here. First inhabited during the Neolithic age, it became a major cult place of the Minoan civilization.
Cornucopia (horn of plenty), is a personal artistic research on the plateau’s elusive identity. This rich land which has nourished the inhabitants of Crete for centuries is the same place that according to the myth Zeus was born in a cave. According to another myth it is the bridal bed of Europe.
The plateau, like other Greek rural areas, has been under economic stress long before the generalized crisis. Young people are fleeting away, and the population is shrinking. As a result, most of the remaining people have become resilient to the ever-diminishing life prospects and live in their own environments. Being born and raised in cities, we photograph this agrarian world in order to understand. The contemporary image of the plateau is the result of both humans and nature. It is impossible to comprehend this place, without acknowledging this fundamental interaction. Likewise, the portraits of Cornucopia are an inseparable part of the landscape.
— Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki, Crete, Greece
I have always been fascinated by the Renaissance paintings of the ideal city. Order, geometry, light: the main characteristics of these paintings. With A Neutral Place I want to rebuild my ideal city, and I tried to bring together all the places I visited in an imaginary and unique city. The same perspective and geometry, the same light and order, even if the cities are many, all different. I then made a series of photographs analyzing the urban spaces to isolate what interested my research, eliminating any element of disturbance, isolating the scene from the context of the modern city, seeking order in the chaos.
It is not therefore a documentation, but a reconstruction through conscious choices. In this way, those who look at my photographs are in a unique city, real but at the same time imaginary and invisible. Basically the purpose of art is to make the invisible visible.
— Franco Sortini, Salerno, Italy
My art practice engages with our culture’s relationship (or lack thereof) with the natural world. This relationship is a complex one—we need it, we revere it, we protect it, and we also destroy it. But above all, we have separated ourselves from the natural world. In my work, I explore how these barriers and desires manifest themselves in our lives and our society.
Over the past few years, one way I have been exploring these relationships is by creating and photographing miniature landscapes using fake fur as the land substrate. The resulting series of large scale photographs, titled O Pioneer, hearken back to the pioneering Western photographers of the late 1800s, in a tongue-in-cheek manner. These photographers, such as William Henry Jackson and Carleton Watkins, surveyed the West in North America and brought back stunning imagery of splendor and bounty. Their images helped propel the problematic narrative of Manifest Destiny. Much of my imagery is directly borrowed from these historical photographs, while some simply reference the genre. The resulting series of photographs are clearly a simulation, a farce, with the fake fur as a reference to the lure of potential bounty as well as the resulting devastation.
— Areca Roe, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA