Paolo Mazzanti - Photography


by Victor De Circasia

To honour his land this photographer seems to search for origins, roots, beginnings that are gripped in the most romantic embrace with the landscape. His search invariably leads him to an image which has been captured for centuries in countless paintings, prints and photographs: the Italian landscape.

Poetry in photography is often controversial but perhaps especially so when Mazzanti concentrates his interest on the detail of nature rather than the general wider view. Nevertheless, this exercise remains an attempt at a general overview with the allegory of the detail. The nature, poetry and harmony of any landscape are engraved in our memories. The photographer may create an illusion but he also can destroy those memories. Memories that are often perched at the edge of coherence or maybe just beyond our own personal orthodoxies. These photographs should be approached with a deep feeling for nature and the use of clear logic as these are the elements of Mazzanti's compositions. He introduces us to the body of photographs as into a great adventure with the authority of creating a new view. Mazzanti bestows his images with technical props, storytelling and sleight of hand. He goes on location to originate a scene, as if it was one we were forbidden to dream about. In the context and the devise of a new environment he strips away the photographic illusion. While he allows the spectator to be the master of his legacy he holds the keys to the essential resources. The conflicting philosophy of an architectural approach to nature is the restoration of the beauty concept and its presence, in reality, a Tower of Babel in today's vocabulary. Daring works that fill me with more admiration than pleasure.

The hegemony of the photographs-artefacts goes hand in hand with the idea of a monument that should be photographed at different angles. He photographs a structure with the intention of creating a different discourse outside the main complexity of the landscape itself. An energetic exploration of nature remains one of the best challenges in the use of digital manipulation. He allows the technology to serve the story. The gathering of images moves from day to night, and with the aid of artificial (digital) lighting, the visuals begin to degrade; a disintegration that mirrors the slow breakdown of the image. This ambitious re-creation underscores the possibilities of digital photography and his individual approach.

The one-time dogma of refusing the new digital technology in photography was often heard amongst photographers. However, today we can actually see and believe in the illusion of these images.

Mazzanti dominates the effort of safeguarding nature through the presence in his photographs. As a new challenge he stabilizes his work in an exquisite journey of nature and colour. This is especially true as he fearlessly, even recklessly, pushes against the limits of narrative realism and dares us to take a leap of conceptual faith in the treatment of the landscape. The focus of his appeal remains in the eagerness of his fresh approach to create tension in the fragment as he tries to restore a glorious path to nature. In some photographs there comes a moment of truth when the images either scatter apart memories irreparably or bind them together like a dream.

part 2

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