Five years after the earthquake that hit Abruzzo and destroyed L’Aquila, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, TheDarkroom wants to present an extract of the story “99 pictures for L’Aquila”
Made in 2012 by students of the academic year of professional photography and multimedia, the project aimed to denounce the impasse in the reconstruction that such a majestic and beautiful territory of L’Aquila and Abruzzo, rich in art and life, with its inhabitants, seemed doomed.
Despite the great effort made by the students, the Aquilans and the local institutions, which allowed us two years ago to implement the project in the field, we could not find interest outside the local circle in the dissemination of these images. It almost seems that L’Aquila has become an uncomfortable burden for the Nation and seems a better willing to drop the focus on this issue to make it crystallize in the condition in which it is located. Another Belice, another Irpinia, another Friuli, maybe.
Despite the two years passed since the shots presented in this excerpt were taken, talking with my friends from Abruzzo, I realize that very little has changed since then. L’Aquila and Abruzzo would have needed rocketing funds for rapid reconstruction. So it was not. Abruzzo seems has been abandoned. Nobody is talking about it anymore. The Country’s problems seem to be others.
I feel I can find solidarity with the thought of my students saying that L’Aquila is the mirror of our Italian society today. I believe that we can not think of going towards anywhere, nor achieve any results as a Nation, if this is not done by cooperative working, diligently, in accordance with the life and work of all.
With the hope that this situation will find a quick solution, these are the images that we want to offer for to forget not L’Aquila and Abruzzo of April 6, 2009.
Michele Pero, academic director TheDarkroom 2003-2014
99 photos for L’ Aquila is a multimedia project initiated by the school of professional photography and multimedia ‘TheDarkroom’ and students of the academic year 2011-2012. The project aims to portray as fully and objectively as possible the capital of Abruzzo three years after the earthquake of 2009. We let the places and people talking about themselves, trying to grasp all the aspects that could make our search rich and broad.
The collected material consists of 99 photographs on 5×7″ and 4×5″ large sheet color positive film, supplemented by digital photographs. The images range from places time ago crucial for the city, which now no longer exist, the new centers and new buildings that are part of the reconstruction project. We have also collected a number of video interviews.
The quantity and quality of the material produced has allowed us to structure a report full of content that focuses on a number of problem areas on which the city is struggling.
The final editing consists of 99 images accompanied by video, audio and text. A journey of knowledge to the observer that goes far beyond the aesthetic experience.
Who we are
The project was made by the students of the academic year of professional photography and multimedia ‘TheDarkroom’ of Florence.
They are all young buddy photographers in their twenties and thirties, Italian and foreigner, coming from several previous educational experiences and coordinated by Michele Pero, academic director of the school.
Project Director: Michele Pero – Authors: Francesca Bacci, Mirko Belotti, Adelaide Benvenuto, Virginia Bonarelli, Ambra Ceccherelli, Haylee Chugerman, Paolo Crobu, Lorenzo Devoti, Claudio Pagano, Giulia Perin, Javier Rodriguez, Maria Alexandra Ruf, Maria Elisabetta Sarti, Federica Stabile, Paolo Torri.
Fabio Iorio | journalist Matteo Grimaldi | writer Alfonso Mastracci | photographer Giulio Votta | actor Walter Cavalieri | teacher Sebastiano Santucci | ‘Ente Musicale Società Aquilana’ Fabio Zenadocchio | ‘CUS L’Aquila Rugby’ Emanuele Nusca | Group “Il mio primo cittadino”
Francesco Saverio Nurzia | entrepreneur Chiara Feltrin e Andrea Valent | university students Leonardo | Aquilan citizen Vincenzo Vittorini | surgeon Filippo Crudele | poet Michele De Finis | engeneer Corrado Mastropietro| webmaster
The story, or perhaps the legend, has it that 99 villages, at those times called castles, were built by Frederick II in the actual area of L’Aquila. Each had its own square, its fountain, its own church, for a total of 99 squares, 99 fountains and 99 churches. Each castle had its own identity, but all were united under a single name: “Aquila” (Eagle).
To celebrate the tradition that the number ’99’ played in the history of this city, is now the Fountain of 99 Spouts, an ancient monument of L’Aquila, and the bell of the civic tower that chimes 99 times at sunset.
When back from L’Aquila and developed our 4×5 and 5×7 large-format photographs taken in the report, we realized that they were exactly ninety-nine pictures! The curious case is that we did not brought ninety-nine plates or counted to shoot ninety-nine pictures. Indeed, in the field and in the darkroom we dropped some sheets for mistakes. What remains are the total of 99 photographs taken with the large view camera!
This result was not programmed. It seems, therefore, a duty to respect the tradition and we also called this project “99 photos for L’Aquila“.
The students of the academic year of 2011-2012 and the photography and multimedia course director Michele Pero want to thank all those who have made possible the realization of this important reportage:
Paolo Romeo – his valuable help has allowed us to start our whole project;
Angelo De Nicola – writer and journalist of “Il Messaggero de L’Aquila”, who sponsored our work, providing many useful contacts. We thank him also for being valuable guide at the Basilica of Collemaggio, where we explained in a clear and very interesting history of the city of L’Aquila.
Carlo Di Stanislao and Giovanni Chilante, of the “Istituto Cinematografico La Lanterna Magica” of L’Aquila. They allowed us to get the pass-badges so we were granted access to the “Red Zone”, the most dangerous and devastated area of the town.
Ruggero Mariani – he enthusiastically embraced our project by providing an important aid in the field.