HOMAGE TO ALFEDENA
Habit is a patina that makes everything plain, daily attendance even makes ordinary the most exotic place. A lazy look gets used to everything so that generally, jewels around us are not deemed worthy of our attention. In this sense also Alfedena is a risky place.
The categories of places we refer to are the urban space, the landscape and the wilderness; those are three types of spaces which hardly co-exist, but in the case of alfedenese territory there happens a magical fusion. There is history: and the urban space travels back vertically from our time until the dawn of time.
Alfedena promotes the historical analysis and t he anthropological reflection. Just outside the village there is the landscape, the urban and the natural environments meet, collide, mingle, giving rise to a network of roads originated at all times who may depart from the same place to flank itself and move away to find themselves up to take their own path. Signs that seen like on a map, cross the territory with different pressures. A solicitation on the landscape passing by the delicacy of a mountain path to the marking of a provincial road; the territory read through the work of man.
And then the wild, which fits seamlessly into the urban space, avoiding the natural interposition of the landscape. Just get off informal steps… magic, I’d say, to be merged into the wild… with the back to the center of the town. Is not a common feature. This is due to the mountain that has intimated to man, with its vertical harsh, the respect. And today that warning reveals itself in a space of many powers. A space that can heal the mind, soothe the pain, rebuild through observation, meditation. All this is Alfedena: a unique place in the world.
Path no. 1
– a walk to the mountain? –
– why not! –
It’s six o’clock p.m. and we are wrapped into the slumber of one April evening, in front of the balcony of Gaetano’s house, facing a coffee and listening to his stories. I came to Alfedena after a wonderful coach ride in Abruzzo landscape from Lanciano through the Sangro Valley.
– Gaeta’ I forgot my camera in Rome, do you have one for me here?
I came here because in this place there is something arising that I’m interested in. My friend is starting a “residential darkroom”, as a tour operator would say. A place where somehow he fights a vice of our time: fast image consumption. The new family photo books are produced and stored by devices that in addition to phone do everything else. Insecure recordings, spaces not committed to slow leaf through, to the emotional reconstruction of facts. Gaetano, instead, goes countertrend. And I like that.
– a digital camera with an old 50 mm f/1,2 fast, it’s very soft
– I like it, thanks
After few steps we are in an open countryside. That’s Alfedena. It is able to pass from the urban landscape through countryside, without intermediate steps. There is a path, there are our legs and there is time. Not a lot, it’s true, but it is a time that expands because nature steals the attention, shows details to which you are not used, leads you to locations which are signs and meanings. You might want to read them. That’s how one minute becomes an hour and an hour becomes a day. That’s how an instant becomes an eternity.
We are silent, a few bars between us, just a few clicks. We communicate with our eyes and, to indicate something unique that one has missed, we simply seize the attention of the other. A long look on a defined point.
– how lovely the tree and look at the mountain!
I realize it is this atmosphere at the edge of light that shows it up this way. I’m quite sure tomorrow will be different and that over millions of years has never been the same. In an infinitesimal space there are all the stories of the world, those of yesterdays and those that are yet to come.
– Gaeta’ thanks of this evening
It gets dark and we return home in silence. Alfedena looks framed by branches and enhanced by the whiteness of flowers. I decided that I’ll print this photo series. I want to do it because I want to keep in memory this simple moment. Because I don’t want to forget anything. Because I want others to enjoy these atmospheres. This is the first gift that I received by the initiative of Gaetano. This awareness is a big present for me.