(2017, United States)
My work consist of photographing landscapes during long solo trips in remote desert areas. Taking a long time to travel is essential to revert to a more essential state of mind. When there i’m facing basic life needs and slowly drift back to our primeval link with Nature, from whom we generated. I rely rather unconsciously on my vision and emotions while making the necessary choosing process about what to photograph and how; this, along with the use of the large format medium makes the whole process extremely slow and meditative.
I noticed through the years that i’m greatly attracted by pureness and simplicity. What i’m seeking into the landscape then becomes a mirror of what my Self might be. To this extent, those landscape are a visual representation of a part of my being, and my work as a whole a mean on the path of my individuation process.
Getting rid of our social mask brings our mind closer to ancestral times, when man could only rely on his Unconscious to cope with phenomena. Modern times and the scientific method now overshadowed a time when myths and spiritual insight were leading.
What is the result of this condition? Knowledge or alienation from the Self? Are modern society comforts and its new values tearing us away from our bond with Nature and the understanding of life cycles? How valuable are then all inner-referring society cultural structures if they are just held together by values oblivious of their origin?
(don’t miss the previous publication of Luca Tombolini)
Giangiacomo Cirla: Hello Luca, how’s it going?
Luca Tombolini: Everything good, I’m just back home from some days of research in Andalusia, longing to be back there during Christmas.
GC: We had already talked when we published your work (LS VII: Memoria) and now we can see this new series of amazing pictures of landscapes. Can you tell us why did you begin these series and if there’s been an evolution in your way of taking pictures, of feeling the places?
LT: I started to shoot the landscape trying to be as free as possible in choosing what to photograph and how. So they came up like this in a rather unconscious way. Through the series I’m trying to add each time a deeper level on the spiral of my practice. Which is not necessarily about understanding but more about feeling.
GC: In that case you shooted on Pag Island (Croatia) where a concentration camp was active during summer of 1941. How has it been to deal with something so dramatic?
LT: It was a very intense experience. Even though nothing of the concentration camp remains at present time once you get to realise the details of what happened there it’s like a vertigo on a very dark side of human nature.
GC: And what’s your new series LS: X talking about?
LT: As in the nature of every series, is a confrontation between my Self and the landscape I choose to live in. Being in the States west in such a majestic landscape aroused some considerations about the clash between its flair for spirituality and the values of materialistic modern society. I could see the first in the animism developed by native cultures and the latter in the culture created by westeners.
GC: How do you choose the locations of your works?
LT: I’m mainly looking for pureness and some degrees of simplicity in the landscape. On top of that it needs to feel right it terms of remoteness, to help me, while living there alone, to have no distractions and therefore revert a more essential state of mind.
GC: What message do you want more to convey with your work?
LT: A side effect of trying to connect in such way with Nature is that you get worried about short term effects of human presence on Earth. We are using it as if it was infinite but it’s not. Just think about how Life thrives in quantity as soon as man disappear from an environment. Apart from this I don’t have any message to bring forward, the work is in fact a visual representation of the path of my Self individuation process. It’s a very personal approach, totally disconnected even from the context of our society and time.
GC: Nature is the protagonist of your work and the method by which to convey different concepts, what is your relationship with nature?
LT: I found out that being alone in Nature it’s the straightest way to transcend what my mind thinks I am. I feel at the same time humbled yet elevated, confronting with a principle of Life I can barely get at grasp with it. This all is transcending me yet I’m part of it. The inside tries to mingle with the outside and I’m a spectator of this process.
GC: Your work has a very strong meditative approach, can you tell us why and how this approach affects the final result?
To make an example when I was in Morocco I found myself shooting on the sand dunes of Merzouga which is a very touristic place. After that I moved more south to another erg in which I was totally alone. To my wonder, dunes are for the most the same in these two places, I only chose the pictures I did when I was alone. To that extent I’d say I’m not shooting the landscape but the being there, the mutual interaction with it.
GC: How is your relationship with the large format photography?
LT: We found each other on the way. I think we both share the same rhythm and after all is a very good way to be forced to stay longer in one place. Beside that I don’t like to come back with too many pictures to work on, having a certain amount of films available creates boundaries to think within; I would easily get lost if I shot digital.
GC: And have you ever thought of a different format for your projects?
LT: Yes I’d like to make them more accessible for everyone on a free basis. If lucky and brave I will do it in a reasonable time and will let you know.
GC: What are your favorite italian art places?
LT: Being honest, I’m not much an art event goer. I do go to photo exhibitions but as in the nature of those they’re not permanent. Being in Milan at Fondazione Prada more than often there’s something interesting to see.
GC: And abroad?
LT: I would definitely go to see the Museo Atlantico underwater exhibition of James Decaires Taylor in Lanzarote, or his other sculptures around the world.
GC: What inspires you?
LT: Actually anything that would open a window in my mind about the living experience we are all sharing. From youtube videos of Space and Time, Quantum fields, Energy Strings to sub marine sculptures and biologic expedition books. To name the few things I enjoyed recently.
GC: Have you ever worked with other artistic media?
LT: I enjoyed doing some video art, composing music and writing thoughts in a mix of poetry and narrative. The latter are in fact parallel to the experience i’m doing in my photographic trips.
GC: What’s next for you?
LT: I felt I needed some free time to test on photography new ideas. I did it partly now in my trip to Andalusia and I will continue to experiment during these Christmas holidays.
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