This retouching and compositing project is quite old now, it’s a personal one, but I still love it.
It’s a photo-story inspired by the adventures of Earl Pietro Savorgnan Di Brazzà. He was an Italian explorer who, in the late XVIII century, made several expeditions in central Africa and founded in 1880 the town of Brazzaville, the actual capital city of Congo.
While going through the reports and travel diaries of his explorations, and the related photographic images, I was totally fascinated by the bravery of these men, the exoticism of descriptions, and the aesthetics of that age. So I tried to think myself as Earl Pietro, wondering about which feelings, fears, and dreams would be in their minds while preparing to enter unknown territories, surrounded by mystery and superstition.
The amazing physical similarity between Earl Pietro and one of my best friends finally convinced me to begin this project. I had the “perfect” model at hand, so I went to the studio and I took all the shots needed to be assembled into a meaningful photostory. The main idea was to represent the foreboding and nightmares of the explorer, ready to leave for a new adventure into the deep unknown African lands. Since this is an oneiric adventure, I felt free to handle the story with a certain amount of irony and surrealism, puzzling the reader/observer with a mix of eighteen hundred aesthetics and modern objects, ending with an unexpected and somehow absurd end.
This is not a commercial project but a personal one; that’s why it took almost one year from the first idea to the final issue. It may seem a lot of time, for barely 9 shots, but the reason is that it’s been a one-man work: art direction, styling, material preparation and assembly of the set, photo-shooting, and retouching were all conducted entirely by myself.
The series was printed in large format D-bond and displayed in several exhibitions across Friuli.