The “Photographic pictures” by Antonio Barbieri
By Maria Lucia De Nicolò
My study’s interests, more than just lingering on the contemporary photography, have lead me up looking for the ancient images, capable of giving me back, foreshortenings, landscapes, a city’s faces, that has to be followed in it’s historical evolution and transformations.
It’s really amazing, how, in the production of greetings’ postcards, the quantity and the diversities of the subjects, since the first decade of the twentieth-century, are fixed by the camera’s lens of the professionist photographers for the place’s promotion.
The pictures, somehow artistic of the historical centre, of the harbour, or of the seascape, during summer or winter, of the beginning of landscape’s photography, from the sixties onwards, have given way for the short touristic promotion’s postcards, that are without any doubt, effective, in giving the locality’s idea, but somehow “cold”, in spite of the colour’s explosion, due to technological progresses.
The panoramic views, along with the theory of the hotels, and of the beach, upholstered by great sunshades, and of the sea’s shores, invaded by the vacationers, and of gardens, celebrations, and games on the shore: touristic consumerism’s images, without concessions to message of avail and of peculiar fascination.
The photographic exhibition pf Antonio Barbieri (and the 2006’s calendar), concerning the same leading subject, “Loving Cattolica”, supply us with a harvest of visive solicitations for production of alternative postcards, that reflect the search for something, that, thanks also to talented changes, practised on the images, due to a complete command of the technical equipment, remind us of new sensation and, at the same time, ancient: a thing that the author is capable of transmitting with great efficacy.
Through the camera’s lens and through the sensibility of a photographer, in love with his city, where he gets fully immersed, and he competed with, one can catch again aspects, places, foreshortenings, which can be proposed as an alternative to those canonical postcards of the view, the harbour, the streets.
A different way to fix the local beauty, without stereotypes.
The preferred subject is, time after time, the result of a selection.There are several pictures, fixed by the photographic clicks by Barbieri and they are flashing in my Memory and giving, each of them, space to reflexions. Sometimes is the nature, itself, mastering everything, (the foamy sea, braking on the shore, in a frame, composed by a dark grey sky, with just a breaking note, given by a point of red of the platform of a little boat, abandoned on the sand; a hurried claw in the reflection of the low shore’s waters; the suggestive strength of the shores; the magic atmosphere of the desert beach at sunset; the sea gulls, that seem to be guarding the wet dock); sometimes the city’s monuments, themselves, fill the picture, (the covered Market, the communal Palace, the Fountain of the Mermaids, or of the Harbour’s Small Dinghy), and some aspects of the city’s supplies, or of the beach, (symbolic and undoubtedly not casual the choice of the bathing establishment of Adele Prioli, that, referring to the effects of the wooden bath-house, in pastel colours of the beach of the beginning of the twentieth-century, prefigures as witness of “The Bathing Season” of an ancient and far epoch).
New postcards, in the composition, in the shot’s choice, in the technical shooting’s quality, telling us of the city, just the way it is felt by Barbieri, with a past’s echo, that let us revive ancient atmospheres.
The strength of his postcard is just this one: as long as the stereotype is stratified, and somehow usuries, so stronger is the charge of that postcard. Not “postcardians” choices, but the spontaneous observation of corners, rugged spots, details and a coring into contact with the reality, through dream’s visions, remaining inside of us.
In conclusion, Barbieri is looking for his Cattolica, without being bound, by a series of “topoi” and avoiding the evident and giving to, each image a chromatic grace, which is the strength of these photos and that tend to revisit, with the light of a poetic invention, all is know and all is consumed: the charm of the beach, the skies’ spell; the vivid waters’ freshness, the light and the city’s colour, it’s suggestions.
Maria Lucia De Nicolò
Master of History of Mediterraneo of modern time, at the University of studies of Bologna (Faculty of Consevation of Cultural Goods,
Ravenna ’s seat).