All the photos in the gallery are from Giulio Rimondi’s anthology, ITALIANA, Kehrer Verlag Heildenberg, Berlin, 2016.
Excerpts from the introduction to Giulo Rimondi’s ITALIANA, Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg, Berlin, 2016.
ON ITALIANA — CHRISTIAN CAUJOLLE
As a matter of convention, because it is easy, or simply out of habit, we allow ourselves to classify photographs by genre, to find compartments or labels for them. This is especially the case today, when so many images are available and circulate so rapidly that, in the end, it is impossible to really look at any of them. There are two types of classifications: those that apply to the genres, which, generally speaking, are inherited from pictorial traditions, such as landscape, still life, or portrait; and those that apply to a professional practice or means of production, such as so-called fashion, wedding, or travel photography.
At first glance, Giulio Rimondi’s photographs seem to belong to this latter category. They appear to be part of the deep tradition of travel photography, influenced by the long history of producing images or drawings of the landscape which, once separated from their cartographic mission, quickly assume the responsibility of conveying the “feeling” or “spirit” of a place by transcribing elements of its geography. In the early years of the craft, pho- tographers repeatedly turned to the landscape.
[…] This long preamble will not be unwelcome for those who wish to understand the approach, practice, and photography of Giulio Rimondi. It is clear that his Italy is in contrast to what is normally seen, at odds with the way the majority travel it and render it in their visual reproductions, seeking the immediate, satisfied with the obvious, maybe even finding comfort in what is recognizable.
This solipsistic Italy evidently has nothing in common with what is seen in geography textbooks, keepsake albums, and tourism pamphlets. It is unique, impossible to co-opt into anything beyond the vision of the person upon whom it is based. There are obviously plenty of landscapes: magnificently diverse, not in their reflection of the country, but rather in the emotions of the traveler. Landscapes that remind us that this imagery is invented by the observer. A “thing” that does not exist in nature, but has been fashioned by the viewer, who determines the frame, depth of focus, and perspective, and brings to the surface what the photographer as an operator of the senses has experienced in three dimensions. We can speak at length about the color, about a palette with no pretensions, yet with a touch of stridency, which corresponds to that which triggered the interest and the shot, which animates the rectangle, spices it; a color that is all the more discreet because it is a mere complement, which does not seek to describe or define. We can notice the fact that the layers of gray in the black-and-white images are in tune with the serene tones of the color. We can find examples of obvious seduction in image after image, which gives rhythm to the journey. But that would destroy the essential, which does not arise so much from the visual arts as it does from the world of music: This voyage is a gentle lilt, a quiet music that meanders through the night with joy. Nothing is definitive, if only for the fact that it is photography we are talk- ing about; what was experienced is now definitively gone, and what remains are images that are engorged with a strange temporality, impossible to locate on a calendar, definitively impossible to date.
[…] Yet this is clearly today’s Italy; and while there is no nostalgia, there is indeed an enormous tenderness. Furthermore, from what can be seen, the photographer recognizes himself in the people he meets, in those he approaches and whose images he preserves. He is one of them, a contemporary Italian who, contrary to most, looks at his country from a slight distance and with a great openness to the potential joys of travelling within it. In the end, this vision of Italy becomes as much a self-portrait as a subjective vision of a territory. A self-portrait of a traveler who is not interested in anecdotes, who allows himself to be transported by the rhythm of his path, doubtlessly as a means to better understand himself. There is a form of wisdom in this voyage with no destination, with no veritable “goal.” Yet there does seem to be a guiding philosophy that binds this collection of images: Know thyself.
As for Giulio Rimondi, he embarked on a true voyage among the countries that were closest to him. He undeniably shares the travel philosophy of Nicolas Bouvier, to whom he makes reference, seemingly driven by memories of his own childhood, those of his mother taking him out with no particular destination, with no prior expectations. His voyage is a calm wandering or, more aptly, a way of using movement to put oneself in a state more favorable to perceiving that which we barely ever notice: the light at the end of the day, the undulations of a landscape that impose upon a byway, a tiered walkway that, once we stop to observe it, seduces us with its harmony. In truth, the moment we make ourselves the least bit available, everything becomes interesting, at times curious, even mysterious. And these infinite situations, which resemble what André Kertész called “the little nothings,” can become a reason to photograph. There are, of course, a lot of them—hundreds of memories of moments in Italy; and whether they be in color or black and white, they seem to maintain
And this is how, just as we have the sensation of being plunged into landscape and travel photography, we find ourselves alongside a unique style of portraiture and self-portraiture. Photography is misleading.
Photos from Giulio Rimondi’s photographic anthology, ITALIANA are included in the Photogallery of thedreamingmachine.com issue N. 8 with a very interesting review by photographer Salvatore Piermarini, and some are scattered throughout the journal as oneiric visual supplements to the text.
For a glimpse at the anthology, see this link on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/208792653
Giulio Rimondi was born in Italy in 1984 and received a Bachelor in Literature and History of Art from the University of Bologna. His art photography is combined with socially committed reporting, focusing especially on Mediterranean identity. His photos are included in the Maison Europénne de la Photographie collection in Paris, in the Library of Congress collection in Washington DC, in the Historical Archive of the Venice Biennial, of the CRMo Collection of Italian Contemporary Photography as well as many private collections worldwide. His work has been displayed in solo and collective shows internationally, as well as in art galleries, museums, photo festivals and art fairs. As photojournalist he has contributed to international publications such as TIME, CNN, The New York Times-Lens, National Geographic, Le Monde, Leica Fotografie International among others.
To find out more about Christian Cajoulle, please read the following interview: