August 11, 2014

Unintentional film stills


Looking back through the images taken from Rome's Eur district I was struck by a sort of half-formed narrative slowly appearing within the shots. The place was deserted, the whites and greys of the buildings adding an unsettling stillness upon the entire area - the only sign of life was the traffic on the wide boulevards, and Italy's small Fiats swerving around roundabouts at speed looked nearly comical in comparison to the towering architecture above. (which, out of habit or disinterest, the drivers ignored.)
These starkly impressive monuments to fascism loom over you like a held-in breath. It creates a cinematic and palpitating atmosphere; there is the sense that this stillness, stagnation, is temporary, a bell will sound
and streams of animated people with surge out of the buildings and populate the avenues - but simultaneously an air of resignation weighs down upon you like the stifling summer heat: a knowledge that it has always been like this, it will always remain like this. 

Michelangelo Antonioni shot L'Eclisse here in 1962. 

The individual becomes what everyone fears around these structures - miniscule, alone, insignificant. Still photographs reflecting the sensation of a place frozen in time, a stranger in a strange land, Chris Marker's La Jetée; Picnic at Hanging Rock. Déja vu, two people in the same place in different times - don't hold your breath here. 

These photographs were taken with no thoughts lingering behind them; but environments will make one act differently, walk differently and impress their presence upon a place in sometimes unnatural ways. Being in the Eur instilled a sort of reverence in me, and deliberateness of manner: every move I made felt slowed down, considered, paced to accommodate the nature of my surroundings. 

You just have to stand there and take it all in - it's not about you anymore. 

From the photo collection 'In Italy', Rome June 2014.