Italia, 2015-2016

“Been walking around aimlessly for days now,” Bogren writes in the short prose pamphlet inserted in the book. “Street after street. With a heavy heart, and loneliness as a constant companion. I’ve forgotten why I’m here and what I’m doing. A camera clutched in my hand, increasingly fearful, with a cowardly posture.”
In a way, then, Italia is an interrogation of street photography. The photographs themselves often capture moments of reverie: a stern-looking nun and an old man with closed eyes both seem intent on negotiating the city with divine guidance. A silhouetted figure with arms outstretched could be a goalkeeper diving for a ball.
The city returns Bogren’s curious gaze – a ghostly presence but always palpable nonetheless in its shadows, looming walls and softly lit windows. Lovers embrace beneath a stone shrine to the Madonna; a communion dress hangs on a street corner railing, echoed in another image in which a white sheet billows in the wind from a balcony. This is an Italy where the traditional and the modern rub shoulders uneasily, but it is the passing strangers, lost in thought, that intrigue. Throughout, there are images of almost sublime physical beauty to leaven the prevailing sombreness. Snatched portraits of young girls going by make them appear almost spectral in their otherness, while other female faces are caught in movement, smiling, smoking, turned upwards with eyes closed.
“I move slowly up the streets towards the square,” he writes in the final entry. “A presence and intensity fill me – a connection with the people around me. I feel their energy and their vibrations. The subtlest shift in expressions, movements in hands and in gestures. Everything is given a meaning.”

Excerpt from an article by dSean O’Hagan, puslished un The Guardian, January 8th, 2017.

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