BEHIND THE SHOT

— The stories behind locations and shooting  —

- OPULENCE VESTIGES -

Once upon a time there was a villa in the forest…or at least, it would start our story if it were a fairy tale because the villa in question is really surrounded by the vegetation of its park that has grown so much to become a forest. It looks like a villa of a Tim Burton movie, hidden away to preserve who knows what witchcraft inside.

However, I go into the woods improvising the best path, even when I see the building I struggle to find the best way for an entrance that is not surrounded by brambles.

We are in August 2020 (but I’m back again in the following year to photograph with new optics) and the humidity that surrounds me, along with mosquitoes, is worthy of an equatorial forest.

From outside I can already admire the potential of the villa with its decorative processes around the decadent doors.

The silence is interrupted when I blind from a side entrance torn, because of the usual pigeons that flutter chaotically towards an escape.

The structure is into the category “skeletons”, inside there is no presence of old furniture abandoned, everything has been carefully stolen. But the beauty of this place is what you can’t steal. Already from the first rooms on the ground floor I find rooms with decorations on the walls. The past opulence is easily understood by observing everything around.

A private chapel lives in the center of the building in a small room mistreated by some vandal writings.

Half of the villa has almost collapsed, there are some rooms, fortunately those less attractive, which have a huge pile of debris in the center, the ceiling almost totally collapsed.

A beautiful room, perhaps a bedroom, in the corner of the villa fascinates me. The decorative inlays on the walls and an old skeleton of a rusty bed make me fantasize about the room, perhaps it was the bedroom of some privileged first-born child. I imagine the caregiver who reads adventure novels by Giulio Verne at the children.

A large staircase in the center of the building with numerous rubble leads to an empty space on the first floor. Fortunately for me there is still a secondary staircase that was normally used by servants to move unnoticed.

This ladder leads me to inspect the surviving half of the first floor. I find two very similar rooms with both the remains of a fireplace. Both also share the theft of the floor, in fact only the slats that served as a support remain. And they share the acrid smell of pigeon guano permeating the air, with a carpet of excrement replacing the original floor.

I move hopping on the most untouched strips to avoid as much as possible the cereal effect “Cococops” trampled.

One of the two is preferred for the best shot because unlike the other still had a large part of the ceiling still painted.

The difficulty of including as many elements as possible in these contexts is part of the photographer’s difficulty, because the space and capacity of the lens are limited.

But over the years I’ve learned techniques that many photographers don’t use that allow me to capture rooms in all their wideness and beauty.

So I managed to capture the ancient vestiges of this room, a photo that maybe will become unique because it can no longer be photographed considering the imminent collapses.

After two hours spent creating the best possible shooting service of this incredible villa I am about to leave.

Pigeons regain confidence when I get out of the way, and they return to being the last inhabitants of this decadent wonder.

C’era una volta una villa nella foresta… o almeno, inizierebbe così la nostra storia se fosse una fiaba perchè la villa in questione è veramente avvolta dalla vegetazione del suo parco che è cresciuta talmente da diventare una foresta. Sembra la villa di un film di Tim Burton, rimasta nascosta per preservare chissà quale stregoneria al suo interno.
 
Comunque mi addentro nella boscaglia improvvisando il sentiero migliore, anche quando scorgo l’edificio fatico a trovare la strada migliore per un’entrata fattibile che non sia avvolta dai rovi.
 
Siamo ad Agosto 2020 (ma son tornato un’altra volta nell’anno sucessivo per fotografare con nuove ottiche) e l’umidità che mi avvolge, assieme alle zanzare, è degna di una foresta equatoriale.
 
Da fuori posso ammirare già le potenzialità della villa con quelle sue lavorazioni decorative intorno ai portoni decadenti.
 
Il silenzio viene interrotto quando accedo da un ingresso laterale divelto, a causa dei soliti piccioni che svolazzano caoticamente verso una fuga.
 
La struttura rientra nella categoria “scheletroni” ovvero al suo interno non c’è presenza di vecchia mobilia abbandonata, tutto è stato accuratamente trafugato. Ma la bellezza di questo posto è rappresentata da ciò che non si può rubare. Già dalle prime stanze al pian terreno trovo stanzone con decorazioni ai muri. L’opulenza passata è facilmente intuibile osservando tutto intorno.
 
Una cappelletta privata dimora nel centro dell’edificio in un piccolo vano bistrattato da qualche scritta di vandali.
 
Metà della villa è pressochè crollato, ci sono alcune stanze, fortunatamente quelle meno attraenti, che hanno al centro un enorme pila di detriti, il soffitto quasi totalmente crollato.
 
Una bella stanza, forse da letto, in un angolo della villa mi ammalia. Gli intarsi decorativi sui muri ed un vecchio scheletro di un letto arrugginito mi fan fantasticare sulla stanza, forse era la stanza da letto di qualche fanciullo primogenito privilegiato. Mi immagino la badante che legge romanzi d’avventura di Giulio Verne al pargolo.
 
Un grande scalone nel centro dell’edificio con numerose macerie conduce su uno spazio vuoto del primo piano. Per mia fortuna esiste ancora una scala secondaria che normalmente veniva usata dalla servitù per muoversi inosservata.
 
Questa scaletta mi porta ad ispezionare la metà sopravvissuta del primo piano. Trovo due stanzone molto simili con entrambe i resti di un caminetto. Entrambe condividono anche il furto del pavimento, infatti restano solo i listelli che facevano da supporto. E condividono l’odore acre del guano di piccione che permea l’aria, con un tappeto di escrementi che rimpiazza il pavimento originario.
 
Mi muovo saltellando sui listelli più intonsi per evitare il più possibile l’effetto cereali “Cococops” calpestati.
 
Una delle due viene preferita per lo scatto migliore perchè a differenza dell’altra aveva ancora gran parte del soffitto ancora affrescato.
 
La difficoltà di includere più elementi possibili in questi contesti fa parte della difficoltà del fotografo, perchè lo spazio e la capacità della lente sono limitati.
 
Ma in anni ho imparato delle tecniche che molti fotografi non usano che mi permettono di immortalare stanze in tutta la loro ampiezza e bellezza.
 
Così son riuscito a catturare le antiche vestigia di questa stanza, una foto che forse diventerà unica perchè non più fotografabile considerando i crolli imminenti.
 
Dopo due orette passate a realizzare il miglior servizio possibile di shooting di questa incredibile villa mi accingo a lasciare.
 
I piccioni riprendono fiducia quando tolgo il disturbo, e tornano a rimanere gli ultimi abitanti di questa meraviglia decadente.
 

Once upon a time there was a villa in the forest…or at least, it would start our story if it were a fairy tale because the villa in question is really surrounded by the vegetation of its park that has grown so much to become a forest. It looks like a villa of a Tim Burton movie, hidden away to preserve who knows what witchcraft inside.

However, I go into the woods improvising the best path, even when I see the building I struggle to find the best way for an entrance that is not surrounded by brambles.

We are in August 2020 (but I’m back again in the following year to photograph with new optics) and the humidity that surrounds me, along with mosquitoes, is worthy of an equatorial forest.

From outside I can already admire the potential of the villa with its decorative processes around the decadent doors.

The silence is interrupted when I blind from a side entrance torn, because of the usual pigeons that flutter chaotically towards an escape.

The structure is into the category “skeletons”, inside there is no presence of old furniture abandoned, everything has been carefully stolen. But the beauty of this place is what you can’t steal. Already from the first rooms on the ground floor I find rooms with decorations on the walls. The past opulence is easily understood by observing everything around.

A private chapel lives in the center of the building in a small room mistreated by some vandal writings.

Half of the villa has almost collapsed, there are some rooms, fortunately those less attractive, which have a huge pile of debris in the center, the ceiling almost totally collapsed.

A beautiful room, perhaps a bedroom, in the corner of the villa fascinates me. The decorative inlays on the walls and an old skeleton of a rusty bed make me fantasize about the room, perhaps it was the bedroom of some privileged first-born child. I imagine the caregiver who reads adventure novels by Giulio Verne at the children.

A large staircase in the center of the building with numerous rubble leads to an empty space on the first floor. Fortunately for me there is still a secondary staircase that was normally used by servants to move unnoticed.

This ladder leads me to inspect the surviving half of the first floor. I find two very similar rooms with both the remains of a fireplace. Both also share the theft of the floor, in fact only the slats that served as a support remain. And they share the acrid smell of pigeon guano permeating the air, with a carpet of excrement replacing the original floor.

I move hopping on the most untouched strips to avoid as much as possible the cereal effect “Cococops” trampled.

One of the two is preferred for the best shot because unlike the other still had a large part of the ceiling still painted.

The difficulty of including as many elements as possible in these contexts is part of the photographer’s difficulty, because the space and capacity of the lens are limited.

But over the years I’ve learned techniques that many photographers don’t use that allow me to capture rooms in all their wideness and beauty.

So I managed to capture the ancient vestiges of this room, a photo that maybe will become unique because it can no longer be photographed considering the imminent collapses.

After two hours spent creating the best possible shooting service of this incredible villa I am about to leave.

Pigeons regain confidence when I get out of the way, and they return to being the last inhabitants of this decadent wonder.

Stanza al pianterreno – Room at ground floor

2021

Stanza al pianterreno, dettaglio con letto scheletrico 

Room at ground floor, detail with skeleton bed

2021

Opulence Vestige, 2020 version

 

2020

202o

2020

La piccola cappella

The little chapel

2021

La parte collassata del pianterreno

Collapsed part of ground floor

202o

La parte collassata del pianterreno

Collapsed part of ground floor

2020