I lived in Italy for many years, most of the time in rural areas, I made photographs of life in the countryside and small towns, developing and making prints in the darkroom of a friend. With time these images have become un-fixed from their original context, they trigger memories of the past with a sense of mystery. This series is a personal documentation of life in southern Italy, framed by the Italian neorealist films and literature that influenced my vision.
The work goes under the title of Mezzogiorno an Italian word that has two meanings. Mezzogiorno indicates the position of the sun at midday, and, by antonomasia it is the name given to the southern part of the Italian mainland and the island of Sicily. A geographical location and a measurement of time. If you face south at midday in northern Europe you will be looking towards the Mezzogiorno.
The regions of southern Italy are predominantly rural and the mechanisation of agricultural practices has been slow, attempts to industrialise have never been successful. These regions have always been distant from the political influence of Rome and the consumer driven culture of northern Italy. The direction of time in the Mezzogiorno is cyclical not linear, it is directed by the incessant repetition of the seasons and there is no sense of moving forward.
The Good Craftsman never blames…
The series features images of individual implements that I have photographed over the past two years and goes under the title of The Good craftsman never blames…, borrowed from the popular saying “The good craftsman never blames his tools”
The tools are not specific to a particular occupation or divided in to categories. I began by making photographs of the tools that I was using and then expanded the theme to include others that I have picked up at local markets and farm sales. I use most of the implements in the series on a regular basis.
Though they have been mass-produced for the last two or three centuries, hand tools are simple in their design and have been fashioned by years of use in the hands of anonymous workers.
Not many of us engage in the kind of work that makes use of these implements anymore. For most of us the tools that we use on a daily basis are digital. Digital tools are designed to look good so that we want to own them, and even though they quickly become obsolete, the people who design them enjoy celebrity status. Not many of us own a scythe anymore or know how to use one, but most of us have a phone and use it for making and sharing images. This is a series of mundane objects in a world of imagery most of which refers only to the moment.