This series of photographs was taken in Termoli, which is the second largest town in the Italian region of Molise and the only one overlooking the sea.
On arriving, I was taken by the surreal atmosphere cast by the twilight over the ancient town. The sun had set, but the sky was still quite pale. Still, no light penetrated the maze of alleyways. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I was reminded of the atmosphere conveyed by Magritte’s works: a streetlamp shone its warm light on a portion of white wall that was flaking in patches.
The people seemed motionless, enjoying the mid-summer evening breeze. After admiring the small miracle, it was time to return home for supper.
“L’impero delle luci” is a narrative project that aims to recount, through visual images, an ancient ritual dictated by the timeless and regular rhythms of nature.
I stopped in Termoli for a week and stayed in the ancient part of the town in a small, ground floor room. The place was damp and briny and felt hundreds of years old. I spent my entire stay exploring the area and observing. Initially wandering around without my camera, the only thing I had in mind was to plan all the details of the story I was going to tell.
When it came to the actual shooting I chose light equipment and a medium wide–angle lens, to create a first–person point of view that would draw the observer in. I also chose not to avoid aloof observation of details from afar, but to get close to the scene so as to capture its essence.
The raw files provided me with a synopsis of the story, but it was flat and flimsy, like a drawing waiting to be brought to life, a rough script with no interpretation. It was not easy to draw the authentic visual images out of the raw material I had in my hands. I had to overcome technical boundaries in the attempt to make the project homogeneous.
As in Magritte’s L’Empire des lumières, the impact derives from the incongruous areas of light and shadow: the sky is blue and looks overflowing, yet there is no sun to be seen, and the close–up subject is much darker than the backdrop.
This project is designed to be exhibited in a medium–sized format, in which each image can occupy two facing pages. A substantial white passepartout emphasises the contrasts in the darker areas and sets them sufficiently apart from the rest. At the same time, the sequence of pages gives a sense of continuity and allows the story to flow.