Halloween landscapes

Well Halloween is not an Italian tradition. But till I was six I was a happy Canadian boy and still I have my skeleton suite. The celebration, however, is of celtic and pagan origins and Valtellina (SO) certainly has deep celtic roots.

The pictures I am publishing are from an obscure and misterious place in the Tovo S.Agata (Sondrio Valtellina Italy) mountain.

In the local oral tradition this was the place where witches and daemons had their sabbas . The paintings on the rocks are a trace of this ancient belief and maybe also a trace of the bloody hunt and destruction of the remaining local pagan culture operated by the Catholic church in the middle age.

For me it is one of the places where I took some of my first pictures when I was thirteen. Back in my youth I wanted to contribute to the preservation of this place so I invited here a couple of persons from the "belle arti" (an Italian institution for the preservation of Italian artistic resources). Those ones dated the paintings, which were in best conditions than today, to 1200/1300 A.D, and attributed them to the school of "Valorsa" and then, fortunately, forgot everything so they are still in place.

Those pictures are also part of a series I am preparing for a project called "Memory of the Mountain" that I hope will be in my ever near to be finished web site.


roundabout #7

This picture closes the series. I am not that happy about the whole. But I was already feeling that way while I was taking the photos. I've been in this place a lot of times and I have seen better light scenarios.


roundabout #6

Till I was young I always liked to look at things. Photography came as a need to communicate what I was seeing. Then it came the necessity to be very sure of what I was doing and feel I was really choosing among alternatives. Is intentionality a way to truth ? I do not feel that it is as easy as it comes. This of the roundabout was a small experiment I tried to have a small scale project. I think I will go on with other roundabouts in the area, by now there are two more pictures left from this series.


roundabout #5

Valtellina's (Sondrio Province see here on GoogleMaps) population lives along the road that traverses it since remote times. Roads where built (and abandoned) on the basis of the locomotion historically in use. As in many western world places it is the car which dominates the shape of the current landscape. New houses differentiate themselves by colors. This is a relatively new introduction occured in the last 2 decades. Once the only color was the gray of the granite sables coming from the Adda river.


roundabout #4

In my youth (1970/80) i did a lot of so called "conceptual research" with photography and other materials. Results where almost disappointing, boring in the best case. However I conserved a bit of that experience, mostly in the need to act intentionally . In this case the idea was to explore on the visual plane the integration of "alien" objects in a landscape with ancient memories. The views instead where not taken with a prefixed plan. That is the conceptual art part I left off.


roundabout #2

Roundabouts as a traffic regulator are around from a lot of time. As usual we Italians discovered them late and now, in a great hurry and without thinking to much about it, we are distributing them everywhere. I run across this one near the place where I lived my youngest years of life. I am working photographically on these places as a mean to regain some "sense of place" that I lost for a lot of reasons. However alienation seems to me the best word to describe my feelings. People here went to a total separation from the land in which they live. I do not know if this has some connection but in the Sondrio province suicide is 5 times higher then in the rest of Italy. A few ones have pointed out that the fracture between everyday life and the land could be one of the causes. I do not want to get into, as a photographer, albeit amateur, I just want to look at.


roundabout #1

As I mentioned some post before one of my aims at landscape is to depict an ever changing world. In this case and for a few of next post I would like to make some considerations, either visual either written, about the possible use of photography as a medium to reason about the ordinary landscape. J. B. Jackson is one of my references here. The way in which he writes about the ordinary landscape is not only interesting for the contents but I consider it as highly remarkable in itself as a creative use of the written word. I see no reasons why pictures of informational use could not be also good in themselves, instead when it comes to human geography the intrinsic value of the pictures is quite low. Far from me to say that my ones are better...

The roundabout here depicted is from Sernio a small village in the Sondrio Province North Italy. But more on the place and the roundabout in the next posts.


can't believe it

I came across this interview with "Canon Inc's most high ranking executives, Director and Chief Executive of Image Communication Products Operations". Apart from the usuals what catched my attention was the following:

"EF-S is perhaps more appealing to the younger market and female market, who appreciate the light weight"

I suppose he forgot homosexuals and communists.

More about convergence and circulation

Till the advent of the Internet (and browsers able to display pictures as the Mosaic) landscape photography as a form of expression was confined to specialized galleries or in the books. There were, and are still there today, some magazines specialized in the field but mostly they are/where devices for selling photographic gadgetry, ever once magazines more specialized in the photographic flesh market did publish some landscape photography too.

The advent of the Internet disclosed several opportunities to several photographers willing to display their work. But in the beginning there was a big problem. Internet connectivity was at large very slow. But the bonus was so high that photographers started publishing their work in a very small format suitable to run across low speed connections.

The main idea was that the small displayed pictures could be a key to sell printed versions of the same along with some workshops so to pay back the effort.

In the beginning (between 1996 and 2000) most of the pictures were taken with analog cameras and films. Scanners where the main device to get the pictures in a suitable digital format. Meanwhile digital cameras made their appearance and started to get less expensive at any new product round. The large diffusion of digital cameras made it relatively easy to take pictures to publish on the web, technical barriers also went down as digital cameras inherited all the automation of the previous mass cameras plus the bonus of not having the chaotic combinations due to diverse film and treatments that was the nightmare of the small print market.

As you know most of the Internet content is for free (as in beer). So the ones who started trying to sell prints remained on the usual business model consisting of selling enlarged printed versions of the published icons or on workshops, along with some incomes from advertising in various forms.

But the discovery of the potentials of user contributed content made things evolve along other new lines. Users wanted to display and exchange their pictures, evaluate or have them evaluated in a word they wanted their own images to circulate. Landscape photography sites (the ones with icons) where taken as repositories from which take inspirations or models to emulate and derive from.

Number of users become the main measure of aesthetic appreciation and user content contributed sites gave the opportunity to photographers (of whatever kind) to have their 15 minutes of notoriety as depicted by A. Wharol.

We are still at the beginning of this traumatic change in the way aesthetic values are defined and established. The first to absorb the impact are certainly the critics and the photographic magazines editors, then comes the photographers to whom it must be clear that with prints they cannot in any way compete with flikr for diffusion and circulation.

It remains to understand in which way a landscape photographer could make a living displaying for free its own work which is still made from hard and strenuous application to the matter.



I always appreciate smart marketing moves. In the photo accessory marketing things must be quite difficult. Every body sells, more or less, the same stuff. A couple of big producers recently introduced video in their DSLRs. Bingo! Every body is speaking about. So here is my turn.
Convergence happens at the end of the chain, not at the beginning. The convergence already happened. People wants to see video, pictures and what else on a screen and a HD one. That is the convergence. Content production follows the demand.

This thing is also happening with prints. Users want to look at pictures with a video. So the demand for low cost but color friendly screens is going up. And production is preparing to fulfill the demand. This may be bad news for the ones making a job selling prints (still have to know one) but it is otherwise good news for the environment (did you consider how polluting are the inks and the plastic papers of your ink jets). And is also good news for photographers interested in not having a split personality: one for web and one for the prints or the book.

I know, a lot of you will think that the feeling of a print will never be matched... Well to have a reasonable living illusion is sometimes a necessity.

For something more precise and technical see this article on The Luminous Landscape.


Over the internet

Few posts ago "Mark Hobson" at "The Landscapist" gave the cyclic set of explanations of his framing techniques. This time I followed the whole chain and and the most referenced photographer was: Peter Henry Emerson.

So I made some searches with google and came up with the very pleasant discovery of the photography section of the Internet Archive.

I am not a great fan of Microsoft but when it comes to culture I have to say that their fundings are well spent. Well done and a gratefull thanks.

There inside I have found the "Naturalistic photography for students of the art (1889)"
by Peter Henry Emerson himself.

I have read the intros from several other authors too. Along the intro you will always find a dissertation upon theory of photography a thing that is missing in a lot of modern photography handbooks. Such a dissertation, as a side effect, reveals from the beginning the position of the author/photographer. The newest handbooks I found with such dissertations where from Feininger 1960/70.

Since photography is such a practical art when the writer is a true photographer the theory rapidly becomes a personal statement about the artist's inner vision of his/her art.

That's the part that I value the most. While techniques come and go (and not always for the best) the essence, the photographer, remains.

Anyway reading online those books is a great Internet experience, you can also download them in various formats.


quadro #5

While i was composing this one, and trying to not elaborate to much on it, an analogy with free jazz came to my consideration. This series, the squared one, is a study on the use of a square frame format, adapting myself to compose squared in a rectangular viewfinder. The contents are intended as abstractions. So getting back the analogy was partially due to my listening for several days the "Art Ensemble of Chicago" production and partially following my way of seen that has always privileged the dynamics of the scene. I still have to find a way to fully transpose it in a photo. By the way this has been one of the main motivations of my photographing.