Franco Sortini: A Neutral Place

Franco Sortini: A Neutral Place
International Photography Grant 2019

In these Franco Sortini’s photographs there is a photographic story, but it is a kind of crossover in which photography asks a series of questions about the identity of a place and about the emotional aspect of being in a place.

So we find that the images of these cities are, in some respects, deliberately complicated because the place isn’t recognisable. Today the image of our cities is much more complex and confusing. Their spatial qualities rarely define the functions of its parts and its buildings. Today we are choked and suffocated by a planning design that has surrounded us with a cannibalistic metropolis, with a squalid city that lacks a sense of order, with a sad countryside that coasts the edges of our rail roads and highways, dotted with petty, purely utilitarian, buildings, sparsely shaded by lamp posts and polluted by petrol fumes.

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

Yet the photographer’s watchful eye has managed, by enhancing certain architectural details, to make us understand how these almost always reflect the political order and the laws in the various periods that have given rise to the city. And it is because photography becomes the privileged territory of the analysis of what is real, according to individual parameters that tend to isolate a single detail to enhance to the utmost its evocative power. In Sortini’s photographs we behold a place which has not been passively observed, but rather has been “shot” not because of any inherent beauty but because it lends itself to be interpreted as a mass of volumes, of shadows and of light. And in these photos the only tension that you perceive is that between matter and light.

In fact, as suggested by Jean-Claude Lemagny, photography is the form of art where these two aspects of reality occur, not for the sake of imitation or fiction, but directly, through contact. A landscape, any view, in fact, does not exist outside of the eye of the beholder, which is our own eye that gives meaning to the things we look at, that each of us sees unlike anybody else.

And the cities that Sortini has photographed, thanks to the light that floods them, due of course to the artist’s great skill and experience, no longer seem “unnatural piles of things”, but appear freer, more open, because the material form wants to last and the light wants to save itself.

Cristina Tafuri (Salerno, February 2015)

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

Franco Sortini (1958) is an Italian photographer. Early is interested in painting and graphic art. Beginning in the 1980s, under the supervision of Franco Fontana, has produced color photographs of landscape and architecture. Sortini’s photographs are presented with a deadpan wit and always considering the tenuous balance between people and their surroundings. He works in series, photographing urban scenes of his native Italy and Europe. His use of color has been lauded for its capacity to express reality and the mediterranean light. His interest focuses primarily on the empty city, chasing his idea of the “ideal city”, a place where to find order in the chaos. “Franco Sortini’s work comes up from the spaces; it is written with a wide size, so to solve the rules of perspective and the visual system each picture is provided with. classical structure, with a central, prevalent, perspective to outline the profile of a factory building, although more broadly then in architecture. his work is, in fact, focuses on this very strong urban genre, where the rigor and the constructive order is resolved with a desaturated color. A color that, then, reappears with some connotations, which are almost citations, to justify the photographer’s philosophy” (Luigi Erba).

At the same time develops commercial photography, and in 1986 he opened a studio of industrial photography, working with advertising and communication agencies, and offering its services to corporate customers Franco Sortini has exhibited extensively his works during last years. His work has featured in many galleries in Europe and his photographs are in the collections of Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, the AFOCO Archive in Cordoba, the Galleria Civica of Modena, the Department of Modern Art of University of Siena and in many private collections. He has published several photography book and some artist’s book in limited editions.

His photographs also have been published in many magazines and web magazines. Professional photographer since 1986, he is a member of the Italian Association of Professional Photographers. Actually he lives in Salerno (Italy).

Website: francosortini.eu

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

A Neutral Place © Franco Sortini

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International Photography Grant 2019