Forgotten factories

Designer: Stefano Sandonnini
Photos: Stefano Sandonnini
two souls that seem to live perfectly together: that of the photographer and that of the traveller

Talking about photography and using a short interview to present the work of a photographer could seem limited and superficial, because it means that we are trying to present what is often something that cannot be translated into words. In fact, it is often a battle that is lost before it starts, because words are not as powerful as images.

Interview with Stefano Sandonnini

Looking at your photos we find two souls that seem to live perfectly together: that of the photographer and that of the traveller. The traveller’s great curiosity is shown, who looks into each corner and detail of hidden and, often, contradictory and difficult situations and, at the same time, the photographer’s instinct to fix each single moment, the never trivial shot that gives the subjects a new light. See, remember, narrate and interpret. How would you describe your research?
My research is instinctive, when I decide to slip into these abandoned sites and see everything they contain, a fantastic euphoric feeling grows inside me and I try to convert them into fascinating chromatic works, making abandoned things that time has worn down in these ancient steelworks, fading their structures and colours, become abstract pictures. I observe them and compose images that already exist, and then the sensitivity and instinct of my photographer’s eye does what a painter does with his brush and canvas.

Places of hard work, abandoned factories, spaced relegates to our memory: the materials they were made from, the items they contain and their “spiritual nature” which continues to pervade these abandoned and forgotten places, memories linked forever to the traces of those men who worked and lived there. How can this fascinating complexity be translated into a picture?
By feeling the emotions that the place gives off when you are there, the silence that surrounds you gives you unexpected inspirations that help create the frames.

Isn’t there a difference between a “portrait” and a “still life”? or better still, could a broken abandoned keypad and a colourful ravel of cables and broken pipes in an abandoned factory be considered as portraits rather than examples of still life?

Certainly, real portraits where the lines of the face are replaced by the rust and cracks in the materials, giving life to items that so far have only been thought of as work materials and definitely not works of art.

Steel: light and shade, shapes with clear contours and other frayed and unclear parts, scratches, rust and cuts, colour hues that have been patterned by time and man’s work. How can you describe the complexity of photographing this sort of material?

It is not difficult for me to photograph things like this: they are simply waiting to be immortalised, and it depends on the sensitivity of each single artist to be able to see their true nature beyond the banal appearance.

Marina Cescon
Acciaio Arte Architettura 47