Photographic Frescoes

Sometimes we have the rare fortune of coming across wonderful photographs of landscape as the ones that now Luigi Biagini proposes to us. We are asking to ourselves though, considered also the innate beauty of the landscape itself, if the merit has to go to the photographer or to Mother Nature, which is offering us such wonders. I think that the answer is, as it often happens, in media res (in the middle): the professionality of the skilled photographer was able to catch with an expert and purposely educated eye the unique perspectives of the Tuscan landscapes. Although - and it is this that captures our attention - this is not only about fixing an image on the film, but rendering the atmosphere of the moment in which that determinate image has been caught. The ephemeral impalpability of the morning mist, the lake made mirror at the skimming light of the sunset, the clods of dry earth underneath the heat of the sun ... situations that could automatically enter in ourselves if rendered in colors, but that here, instead, have been filtered by the black and white. And is this that makes them special, true “photographic frescoes”, where the atmosphere wins on the color, and the heart on the eye ...
There was somebody, at the almost dawn of photography, that has been considered the father of this technique, both for his capacity of enjoying immensely the moment and the site he was living while he was photographing, and for his unsurpassed technical ability. His name, after one hundred years from his birth, remains a myth, the one of Ansel Adams. Now Biagini, on Ansel Adams’ footsteps, instead of Yosemite proposes to us the 'California of Italy’, the most pure and least contaminated Tuscany, where, instead of gold diggers, it seems to see coming out by horse, on the silky mantle of grass of one of these pleasant hills, a sumptuous cortege of knights, in the manner of Benozzo Gozzoli, or, on the other side of the field, it seems we could glimpse Saint Francis while is exploring Sister Earth.
This celebration of the landscape, in its still immensity, introduces us to familiar atmospheres, made of timeless cottages and bales of hay, of regular rows of cypress trees on the edge of the hill, with their long shadows laid down with care on one side, suspended between earth and sky.
The photographs by Luigi Biagini calls us to enter in these landscapes, to take the first white road and follow it until that infinity which dies in the clouds. And in doing this, it seems that we become white as well, full of dust, while a tepid breeze, which moves the declivities, as they were seas, brings to us the scents of the soil and history. In fact, what makes similar the two photographers and cultures, is not only their technique, but also their desire of rendering the immutability of time in the unaltered permanence of the landscape in the centuries - or at least this is the impression. It is an invitation to draw a deep breath in order to taste all of this perfume of freedom.

Valentina Fogher
Curator Museo ItaloAmericano
San Francisco, Ca, USA 

Introduction to the book "White Roads in Tuscany", ed. Petrartedizioni, Pietrasanta, April 2002