Author: Art Narratives Staff

“I like to work on documentary topics that I discover through personal encounters. By listening to the ones close to me and taking their thoughts and concerns into account it feels natural to derive at certain subjects, such as the meeting with Matei which led me to the Romanian gold towns. It started as a photo-documentary in which I questioned how these places were shaped by the gold mining industry and how their future could look like. I tried to stay most of the time with locals with whom I connected through Couchsurfing website. In Deva, a city located in the south of the gold mining area, I was invited to stay at Irina’s house. One day after dinner with her family I showed my pictures from the first trip at the big flat screen in their living room. “These pictures have no value for me”, her mother said furiously. “They are a simple negative impression: remote, filthy, run-down…” It was difficult to hear that because I was their guest, and I felt it was true. From that point, I realized I came with having a preconceived image of this Romanian region and I was only looking for confirmation.

This confrontation was the turning point in the project. I realized that the way I photographed was mainly based on preconceptions about Romania that I got by being exposed to the western media coverage and photo stories. From that moment my focus shifted to an exploration of various ways I could represent the life of the people from the Apuseni Mountains.”

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life by Tomas Bachot (2/4)

“When I look at the work of others, I’m either immediately drawn, or disinterested. When I’m drawn, I read about the background of the work, and then my love can grow because of the story behind it. I love it when work is highly personal, and either spontaneous or carefully planned out. But what I always need in order to appreciate work, is to feel the commitment of the photographer behind the picture, his love for his subject.”

Only the Sky Remains Untouched by Claire Felicie (4/4)

“I had already decided not to shoot with an ordinary camera, stand alone with a digital one. I wanted the shooting atmosphere as calm, as dedicated and as ritual-like as possible. So I went out for a large format analog Technical Camera. I had already done a 3 months course at the Photo Academy in Amsterdam, to be able to work with this specific camera. I and my assistant Julia Gunther set up the set, and we kept a blanket at hand, to warm our veterans during the shoot because the buildings were stone-cold. I could only take three portraits per person, because of the large-scale negatives and the slow process of the Cambo Master-camera.”

Only the Sky Remains Untouched by Claire Felicie (2/4)

“In conversation the morning we met in the beautiful Piazza Fontanese in Reggio Emilia for coffee, Enzo told me his work always reflects his desire to find his soul while trying to slow down the process of seeing life as it races by us. In quiet solitude, we can find ourselves and meaning. This series of photographs depicts eerily quiet spaces devoid of life, with the natural world just beyond reach. The slightly unsettling, somewhat conceptual environments Enzo creates here reflect his sense of searching for place and meaning in this new world. He/we are neither a natural part of it, nor able to escape it. How do we resolve our new world? Perhaps we are sentenced to wander forever, in silence and solitude, until we find a way to live in this cold, industrial ‘factory’.”

Gina Costa on Industrial Civilization by Enzo Crispino (4/4)

“I began to explore this new subject matter after my exploration of my land and my mountains (the Appennino Reggiano ). What I seem more and more to see was the shortage of peasants, for years. The rural life and its people of the mountain were slowly disappearing. The call was strong, a new job that required less physical effort and was more profitable; A new way of working conception was born: THE FACTORY.

So men, without perhaps even realizing it, began to abandon his connection with the earth. The mutual respect of the laws of nature (…), as it has been for millennia, a sacred relationship disappeared. The newer generations no longer saw their future tied to their roots. Instead, they lost their cultural identity forever, one that was made up of traditions that have been passed down for generations where there was only one primary impulse: respect for the Earth”

Industrial Civilization by Enzo Crispino (2/4)

“‘Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life’ explores my power of representing others as an image-maker, in this case, the people who live in the gold mining area of Apuseni Mountains in Romania. By experimenting with my photographic style and asking for feedback on my images from locals, I try to mix different realities about the same place while I dig into the subjectivity of documentary photography. The title of the series and the self-published book is a quote given by the mayor of one of the gold towns to the Romanian press. Through it, he tries to proof that cyanide, a chemical compound used in mining to dissolve gold from the ores, has a positive effect on our health. I used the superficiality of extreme quotes from the press and politicians in the same way that they do it to attract viewers, to look at my work.”

Those who eat fish from the cyanide lake improve their sex life by Tomas Bachot (1/4)

“‘Loss’ is the central theme in my work. Loss of innocence, loss of support, loss of loved ones, loss of illusions and dreams. Very early in my life, I lost those close to me; when I’m only four years of age, my mother dies of cancer. I’m confronted with death hitting suddenly and people leaving abruptly without saying goodbye. These events are a major influence on my work. How do we deal with grief, misfortune, failure and disillusionment and how do we cope with these life-changing events?”

Only the Sky Remains Untouched by Claire Felicie (3/4)

“My series is about military men and women who suffer from PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to their participation in UN peacekeeping missions to countries such as Lebanon, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Cambodia. I came upon the idea to portray them, because of my previous series: Here are the young men (2009-2010). This series show the faces of young Dutch marines before, during and after their deployment to Uruzgan, Afghanistan. When this series was published I got a mass of reactions from veterans who recognised something of their own experiences in the faces. They were suffering from PTSD themselves, as they wrote me.”

Only the Sky Remains Untouched by Claire Felicie (@clairefelicie) (1/4)

Today, the abandoned mountains have begun to change their physiognomy. Once extensive hayfield that beautifully caressed the mountainsides, today are only inaccessible fields covered with stems: an orphaned territory left by man’s hand. There was now a new commandment; “Work at the factory. Like the mountains, the green fertile plains also underwent a brutal and radical change. Buildings had to be built, huge expanses of green fields became cement soil. And so the immense grassy fields of the Po Valley have become the perimeter of what was born again: the factory.”

In this body of work. Crispino reveals a cool, crispy, clean detached world of beautifully designed structures. Using a brilliant, constant light, with no emotion, compositions eerily devoid of people Enzo here documents the replacement of the land with these concrete substitutes for mother earth. This is the new visual vocabulary to express the heartache of his (our) lost earthly paradise.

Gina Costa on Industrial Civilization by Enzo Crispino (3/4)

“The Factory still has the poetic manner of capturing subject matter. However, in these photographs, Enzo is at a cooler remove of the images he captures. In this body of work Enzo visually comments on how the factory buildings, cement highways and bridges have displaced and replaced the fertile countryside with metal and concrete; the new visual images of our time and place. This series is a lament, an elegy to the lost natural countryside that was sacrificed for the concrete edifices that have become our new landscape.”

Gina Costa on Industrial Civilization by Enzo Crispino (1/4)