Selva Oscura (Dark Forest)
“Midway upon the journey of our life,
I found myself within a dark forest
For the straightforward path had been lost…”
Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy has been calculated to be made of over 100,000 words, but I think its genius is evident already in the very first 21. The above verse, which starts it.
I started working on this project – portraits of human disquiet – exactly at a moment when I had lost the straight forward path and was painfully wandering in a dark forest. Technically, I started walking around the city, at dusk, when the sky is still luminous but darkness is making the landscape fade, and looked for a natural ”spot-light” (a lamp post, a shop window, some car lights) that I could use to shoot a totally candid portrait that could look like a studio portrait against the city falling into the night.
Once I found the place, I started waiting for what I was really after to pass by: the human face.
The idea was is to highlight this miracle – the human face – imagining they also were lost in a dark forest, far from the straight-forward path.
I gave the unexpected project a working title: Antartica. Because I was trying to portray humans as I would in Antartica, faced with the power of nature, with the indifferent force of the wind, the ice, of the great white. Only, they were in a comfortable city. But faced with the turmoil and storms of human life that – not knowing the people, but being myself human – I could imagine in their faces.
In this stormy age, uncertain for many reasons, I was trying to shoot the immense fragility and immense strength, the turmoil and resilience of the human passenger.