Nature - NOMINEE: Pio De Rose
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Nervi Parks | Parchi di Nervi
2016 – in progress
Nervi Parks are located in the easternmost part of Genoa. They comprise the gardens once belonging to different aristocratic villas and they represent one of the most significant green public areas of the city, extending for about 9.2 hectares.
On the 14th of October 2016 – just few months after shooting these photographs – a violent storm hit the area causing severe damage. Of the 400 trees populating the Parks, 196 were either toppled or estimated to be irremediably damaged by the downburst; further 15 trees were felled for safety reasons. In total, more than 1,000 tonnes of timber were disposed of (here you can find a video, recorded by a local newspaper, documenting the scale of the devastation: http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/multimedia/genova/2016/10/15/ASV8fkhE-maltempo_parchi_devastati.shtml).
As of today, only few areas still remain inaccessible to the public. However, Nervi Parks are far from being recovered.
What follows is a brief synopsis of the initial intuition I had about the original project: “In this series, I wanted to present the viewer with those scenes in which the specificity of the photographic medium – i.e. the selection and the exclusion operated while framing and composing each photograph – could contribute to making order and symmetries more evident, thus revealing the design and planning processes shaping visitors’ perception of the landscape accommodating their presence”.
Given the recent events, this project has become even more significant to me, for the beauty, the sense of contemplation and the quietude, which had generated the need for me to photograph these scenes, have now become even more poignant.
Shot just few months before the catastrophic storm, “Parchi di Nervi” is a personal project which recent events have suddenly turned into the representation of a “non-existent place”, for most of the scenes depicted in my photographs have been severely damaged or dramatically altered and many others, though apparently pristine, do present subtle but significant changes.
Over the last year, I have decided not to photograph the aesthetics of the devastation caused by the storm. Instead, I have waited for something even more relevant to emerge and become more evident: a new landscape. I have intentionally avoided to document the violent and sudden modifications as they were happening, waiting for their long-term consequences to become visible. Ideally, in the coming months, I would like to revisit all the scenes I had photographed before the storm and juxtapose them – perhaps in diptychs – with their new features. Not only this would contribute to documenting and preserving the landscape heritage of Nervi Parks, but the resulting body of work will hopefully be of help in the ongoing debate on whether the damaged areas should be restored as they looked or redesigned altogether.