The project Streets Without Qualities is a photographic exploration of the residential area of Saione, a working-class neighborhood within the city of Arezzo, one of the main cities in Tuscany, Italy.
At the beginning of the 20th century, this region was dotted with Belle Époque three-story houses and rural homes. Starting from the end of the 1960s until the 1990s, Saione began to develop its current aspect: taller buildings grew up quickly, apparently following no urbanization plan and exploiting the real estate market bubble of the time.
A specific patchwork of façades and streets grew with no identifiable qualities or evidence of any historical moment. In Tuscany, these kinds of areas are often underrated in favor of a visual cliché that privileges Medieval and Renaissance architecture, thereby contributing to creating a distorted idea of a territory.
— Giorgio Bagnarelli, Arezzo, Italy
The Hole explores the destruction and abuse we place on our land for our own personal need and gain, represented visually by disused quarries. In time these forgotten locations, that are sparsely dotted around the country, slowly return to what they once were by virtue of man’s absence. Humans use and deprive the land at their convenience. When it comes at a disadvantage it’s forgotten about and the land is left to deal with the consequences. When the environment finally retakes what is there, it returns in different ways to what was once before. It’s a never-ending cycle of nature versus the human race — with, unfortunately, the latter coming out on top, indefinitely.
— Ben Davies, Manchester, England
Ciudad Jardín Soto del Real at Buniel, Spain: Abandoned, Plundered & Trashed.
More than 1,400 apartments were planned for the development called Ciudad Jardin Soto del Real — on a hill next to the village of Buniel (about 500 inhabitants), about 15 kilometers west of Burgos, in Spain.
In 2008, when one of the largest Spanish construction companies had to file for bankruptcy, just 312 apartments were completed or partially completed. The Spanish property bubble burst.
The bankruptcy of this construction company was a catastrophe for the village as well as for the subcontractors and the buyers of the apartments. The construction work stopped. Many involved companies and buyers lost their money, went bankrupt or were pushed to the brink of ruin.
The apartments and houses were unattended in the following years and were plundered. Recently, the huge area with approximately 55 hectares became more and more of a dump.
— Robert Schlaug, Germany
This series, GSK, documents the visual space of garage building cooperatives (GSK – Garazhno-Stroitel’nyi Kooperativ) in the city of Moscow. GSK is considered to appear as a specific cultural artifact of the Soviet period and became widespread in the 1970s, when the notion of private property was unheard-of in the USSR.
These garages turned out to be the training ground of traits and qualities of a property owner, unknown and unnecessary in the USSR. They also allowed the first instances of social self-organization. According to some estimates, one-story garages will virtually disappear in Moscow in the near future.
— Andrey Gontarev, Moscow, Russia
While the answer to the question “Why do I take photos?” might look easy, the more I delve into my work I realize that I haven’t got any convincing answers to the question.
Why do I insist, come back and utilize some specific motif to develop compositions? Why do I choose low resolution? How is a trivial aspect of reality transformed into something more meaningful in the world of photography? Why do posters showing people and statues pull me closer to them so that I can set them up in a tender but at the same time upsetting manner? Is the picture itself that touches me or a vague remembrance thereof?
As if there is an internal resistance to hold back the answers for fear that decodification will push me into a conscious mechanism of production of identical pictures without any authenticity or soul.
A tormenting process, which I however enjoy, because, to the initial question “Why do I take photos?” – I can now give a more substantive answer: because I long for that surprise that I will feel when, once again, reality will reappear before my eyes transformed, different, mysterious and unpredictable.
— George Vogiatzakis, Athens, Greece
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