Milan ordinary landscapes. Porta Garibaldi #1

Milano Porta Nuova / Garibaldi

I've taken these a few days before Christmas. No I have no exact prediction for the incoming year nor I have any expectations just looking for what will come downstream. My predictive abilities never have been so low. Anyway I can certainly predict that I will take a closer look to this area. By the way here is an interesting round table that may shed some light on the, felt, lessening of our predictive powers. See you the next year.


pmc #10. Seasonal roundabout

Milano 3

I'm entering my traditional hibernation and vacation time. I'll be back in ten days. ... Well maybe a bit more .... Best wishes.


Urbana. Milan ordinary landscapes. Bicocca Greco #4

Milano Bicocca

This summer I've started to shift my perceptual attention in landscape photography from the objects to the relation among them and the way in which we and the objects themselves define the space we move in, perceive and interpret, this is something I've been thinking and reading about for long time but which I could not relate to an immediate perception. Each of us, human, probably have a different way to define a space based on our cultural backgrounds and personal experiences. In this study, concluded with this post, I've tried to act as a person walking along a couple of streets picturing, as a photo tourist, what caught my eye. Generally I make some studies before getting to a place. In this case the concept is the "unplanned walk" in an "unplanned place" for a fixed amount of time (2 hours circa). The idea is that a photographer is some kind of specialist when it comes to visual relation that define space, a specialist by experience. Visual experience is made "viewing" and not "reading" just to stay on a very obvious plane. Well this may be in some contrast with the canonical view that wants the photographer as a mere recorder of an already established landscape made by an Architect (or even the Creator).

Speaking of space, as a concept, I've found that this blog has some interesting analysis about it notably here and here.


Urbana. Milan ordinary landscapes. Bicocca Greco #3

Milano Bicocca

Right after what Norberto Bobbio called the "society of traffic lights", in Italy, it seems, we are having the season of roundabouts. We are certainly late with respect to the other developed European Countries but, as usual, we are making our best in terms of Mediterranean obsession. I'm not sure of the subtle philosophical implications but certainly it requires a totally different approach in negotiations among drivers. In visual terms roundabouts reshape the visual landscape in very powerful ways redistributing space and view points and, ultimately, for the postmodern urban reader, the centre of the roundabout is certainly an exemplary "no where land".


Urbana. Milan ordinary landscapes. Bicocca Greco #2

Milano Bicocca

Conjugating documentation and subjective view has always been considered a contradiction. Never the less this is what we daily experience in our approach to the world. Each time we take a picture we are documenting something, taking a fragment of time and fixating it. Even in the most abstract picture we make, we are documenting. Is it necessary to voluntarily document something to make an image more a "document" than an other ? I'm not sure. Marc Auge in its "Anthropology of the present", an effort in the foundation of an anthropological analysis of our own culture, distinguishes among "intended" historical artefacts and non intended ones, or those who's purpose is not to be used in some future as a document of a conventional present. At the end of every picture what it remains is the human, or the robot, taking it, its point of view (or the one of the programmer), his visual choices and the process till the finished image.


Urbana. Milan ordinary landscapes. Bicocca Greco #1

Milano Bicocca

I've been a while without publishing urban landscapes taken inside Milan. In the next posts I'm going to showcase a small study on spaces and visual relationships I've made in one of the oldest industrial areas of Milan with, hopefully, some thoughts.


Interstitial #7. Alignments

Locate Triulzi

For those of you interested in readings in postmodern condition "narrative" an interesting list has been published a few days ago by aphotostudent blog. It contains references worth to be considered for an historical perspective on modernism and postmodernism. As clearly put in the paper from Habermas, in the list, the problem is that (post)modernism is a moving target, something that clearly depends on the point in time/space where the question about what is to be considered modern is raised. I have to confess that some recent developments in sustainable technologies are hard to not be considered modern, the word, however, became, so to say, unspeakable.


Fondovalle (valley floor). Three morning views

Tovo S.Agata Valtellina Sondrio

A photograph preserves a moment of time and prevents it being effaced by the supersession of further moments. In this respect photographs may be compared to images stored in memory. Yet there is a fundamental difference: whereas remembered images are the residue of a continous experience, a photograph isolates the appearances of a disconnected instant.
From "Another way of telling" by John Berger

Fondovalle is one of my oldest themes. I could say that its the Theme since my first photo. Taking pictures of these places helps me to stay in touch with em even if my position is now more that of an informed tourist instead of that of an insider as in my youth. This, for me, is one of the difficulties of the theme. Some times the weight of the memories gets in making things less clear. So I'm constantly suspended between the emotional plane given by the memories and the pictorial one where I simply try to make an honest description of the place.


Parco Agricolo Sud Milano. Fog

Maybe it is only a SAD effect, but Autumn is certainly the bloggers' preferred season for embroidering upon what is to be considered art or not. Just to put my two cents (European of course) in let me cite a passage from Polidoro da Caravaggio where he describes a discussion between Agostino Carracci, one of founders of the famous Bolognese school of painting, and a group of Art connoisseur of the time. They were speaking about the recently discovered statue group of the Laocoonte, but Agostino was taking himself apart, asked why he said, designing the group with great precision, that "Painters must express themselves with their hands". Now if you agree with me Photography is made with tools that are a modern extension of our hands: the camera and the computer.


Interstitial #3. Red vase

In its unceasing expansion the city grows embracing portions of space that will be progressively filled. The space in between, the interstices, in the wait, is colonized by natural creatures, trees, weeds or other unwanted living forms. In other cases the, once, natural spaces get smaller and smaller. It is an ephemeral landscape that is not going to last.


Interstitial #2. Drawing a line

Since when I've started again to take pictures, three years ago after a stop of seven, my approach changed sensibly, and it is still changing fast. I'm not sure if it is only an effect of speed at which today we are moving ideas in and out of the Internet, after all seven years ago the Net was there, and I was there since day one.
I intimately think that it is something new. For a long time I've followed several theoretical and practical paths hoping to reach, at some point, some kind of synergy. I'm not totally sure, after all my lack of self-confidence is a distinguishing trait of myself, but in some way it is going to work, more now that I've filled many of the gaps I had on the history of landscape painting. An other point is that of my studies in Psychology and Physiology of vision. This one is having a great impact on my photographic doing. Mainly my visual interest are shifting from the object/subject to my subjective vision and the effort to communicate it. Yes in many ways I feel that I'm getting close to what Paul Klee said in a conference about which I've posted here.


Interstitial #1. Misplaced

In a recent post in his blog Joerg Colberg, stripped out the essence of an article appeared in "the Village Voice" and titled "Contemporary Art Photographers Mess With the Medium". Joerg's quote is worth considering for itself.

The quote seems to suggest that the attention to the the process is to be considered a waste of time given the many things waiting to be documented about the deep cultural and economical crisis we are facing now. But I'm not in for a commentary, instead I would like to point out this little experience I had a couple of days ago with my teenager daughter about what is to be considered a photography. The question rose on the meaning of the term "posa" (in Italian a mix of exposure and pose). In photographic terms the posa is the first technical step in the process.

The obvious reference was to read the first pages of Stephen's Shore "The nature of photographs" but after a while I realized that the cognitive problem was a bit deeper that initially thought. The highly theoretical assertions by Shore are not easy to grasp in the absence of a sound practice.

Being a guy photographically born in the darkroom, the idea that a photograph is a product of a process that goes from visualization till the finished print took form the first time I developed a roll of black and white Ilford Panf (for several reasons that may surprise you I've always avoided Kodak :-) and what came out was not only far from being satisfactory but evidence was that the things to work out were quite a lot. Along the rather steep learning curve in making photographs I've come across several conceptual frameworks that helped me in separating the strictly technical processes from the cognitive ones. A conscious approach to the processes my be of some help in playing the visual game. Reflecting on the process is a question that recurs every time there is a change either in techniques or, if I may simplify, in our second nature or in the general Gestalt.

Instead my daughter grew up the purely digital instant picture world. For her taking an exposure/pose and making a photograph was the same thing. The purely digital grown uses a more opaque tool than ours. I wont say that everybody must do reflection on the media, may the Gods save us from this, but a specialized niche may have some sense for a lot of people. Usefulness anyway has never been a decisive support to Art making.

This is to be intended as a critique to the content referred by the post and not the post itself, of great utility.


Fondovalle. Autumn morning light. The sunny side

Just rotated the tripod head by 180 degrees with respect to the previous posted picture. Here you have a full view of almost everything that made this valley, Valtellina, famous. With the notable exclusion of the highest suicide rate in Europe and the cancer rate that is among the highest in Italy. For a brief explanation of the light conditions see here.


Fondovalle. Autumn morning light.

A thing that amazed me in studying Constable's time frame is the constant attention to adapt models of painted landscape coming mainly from Italy and Holland to the locally, adn actual, available subjects and visual experiences. This effort constitutes one of the most original aspects of the British painting of the time given the substantially static location of all the previous development in painting. The same effort was to be done, later, in the USA by the Hudson River School. Today adaptation of models seems a somewhat secondary problem. Differently localized landscapist, in the search of what are considered mainstream subjects either move around the world to reach the original locations or simply represent only the parts of their own landscape that somewhat resemble the original ones. This applies to urban landscape too. Personally, in my need to express my visual ideas and feelings, I am placing the need to adapt the landscape imaging models to my own experience and this is one of my main aims at the moment. Perhaps this may result in being quite difficult but I like challenges.


The story of the True Cross

Freely inspired by the frescoes cycle painted by Piero Della Francesca in the Cappella Maggiore of the San Francesco church located in Arezzo (Tuscany Italy).


pmc #9. The return of the Menhir

Forcola Berbenno Sondrio Valtellina Italy

For an explanation of "pmc" see here. A few words of explanation are needed for non Italian visitors. The big hat that you spot in some pictures is that of the Army Corps called "Alpini". It is an old mountain icon not for the war skills (albeit they did sacrifices during the won and lost wars hardly imaginable for us "fat whites") but for the attitude towards wine. The Menhirs have nothing to do with these places (the glaciers were firmly in place at the time), I suppose that they are the product of some television series plus the attempt to fill a somewhat missing local identity, I plan to get back in this subject since, for the many places I've spotted, it is a somewhat recurring, and relatively new, theme in garden architecture in north Italy. More or less the time of the first appearances of rock decorations coincides with the diffusion of satellite tv with his load of documentaries.