This photo story has been inspired on
the adventures of Earl Pietro Savorgnan Di Brazzà. He was an italian
explorer who, in the late XVIII century, made several expeditions in
central Africa and founded in 1880 the town of Brazzaville, the
actual capital city of Congo.
While going through the reports and
travel diaries of his explorations, and the related photographic
images, I was totally fascinated by the bravery of these men, the
exoticism of descriptions and the aesthetics of that age. So I tried
to think myself as Earl Pietro, wondering about which feelings, fears
and dreams would be in their minds while preparing to enter unknown
territories, surrounded by mystery and superstition.
The amazing physical similarity between
Earl Pietro and one of my friends finally convinced me to begin this
project. I had the “perfect” model at hand, so I decided to take
a number of shots which could be assembled into a meaningful photo
story. The main idea was to represent the foreboding and nightmares
of the explorer, ready to leave for a new adventure into the deep
unknown african lands. Since this is an oneiric adventure, I felt
free to handle the story with a certain amount of irony and
surrealism, puzzling the reader/observer with a mix of eighteen
hundred aesthetics and modern objects, ending with an unexpected and
somehow absurd end.
This is not a commercial project but a
personal one; that's why it took almost one year from the first idea
to the final issue. It may seem a lot of time, for barely 9 shots,
but the reason is that it's been a one-man work: art direction,
styling, material preparation and assembly of the set, photo-shots
and post-production were all conducted entirely by myself. In fact
all images employed here are my own work, except for the trees in one
of the final frames.