I am stuck under my dreams, so down that I cannot even see them, as I used before, so far in time that I cannot touch them when they fly before my eyes. It is still night when the sun rises. Behind the eyelids a shadow swings and guides my body ahead.
Where should I start from? The glorious University years, the way we grew up, and changed – or maybe not – and became the women we are? Our friendship? I am speaking to you, Antonella, while my eyes are looking back to the room and the house we shared, to the city that we explored together, to the delicatessen of our native regions we enjoyed in front of a tower of books, to the laughs and the tears that filled our Roman memories. We have been friends for such a long time that the day you got married, last August, I was really happy and emotioned! As I was the day we took these photos. Seeing you and Andrea smiling, being excited and thrilled, through the lens of my camera, gave joy to my heart. Added to that, the pleasure to visit the town where you were born and you always spoke about. You are such a beautiful couple, guys, romantic, ironic, spontaneous, and I want to thank you once again for all. Yours was really an amazing wedding, and all the days we spent together made me feel as I was ninetheen again. Keep smiling as in these photographs, and be young, and able to see the happy face of life forever.
The world is going to disappear. Rain, falling down, is turning streets and walls into ice. Sun rarely appears on the frozen concentre. Ghostly rays recall memories in lovers’ hearts. Who is sitting alone on the edge of a crevice can see its bottom blue like the ocean.
A special thanks to my sweet model Virginia Tozzi!
“Era la mia città, la città vuota/all’alba, piena di un mio desiderio./Ma il mio canto d’amore, il mio più vero/era per gli altri una canzone ignota.” Sandro Penna
“Città vuota”, or “Empty city” in English, is a small series I shoot last October in London at the Barbican centre, following the suggestions of Hannah Zainuddin (that I thank for being again a wonderful model), as I was looking for an urban space with a minimal, modern and at the same time potentially desolated look where to work. The Barbican has all of it and still more. Sadly that day – mainly because of my train delay – I could not explore the area as much as I would have liked, but I will be there again soon to capture what the Italian poem above (that speaks about desolation, solitude, and love) is whispering to my mind.
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot
I took these photos some weeks ago. Anna, the model, was leaving England and I thought it would have been great to have a photo-shoot at her home. The wind was blowing and the sun close to set. I found the garden smelling of a perfect nostalgic atmosphere. I simply followed the inspiration of the moment, thinking about my life and the houses I used to live in. I always had a garden, a wild field, or a park where to hide, read, think, and enjoy the sound of the hours. I am thinking about it now – as writing this post is waking my memories up – that it’s a long time I don’t hear cicadas singing all day long. My old room, in Sicily, must resound of their songs right now.
When I was a child I spent hours playing and reading next to an old tree of my parents’ garden. That place had something magic for me; the shadow cast by the leaves in those summery afternoons felt me protected. It was like being embraced by a grandfather, and I did not know any of my grandfathers. That’s why trees are an essential presence in my photographs. Here again I want to celebrate their strong and protecting beauty.