Michele Cera & Federico CovreItaly: A visual archive / DocumentaryPlatform

Every one of us has a personal geography which, through the way we look at things, allows for the perception of the physical world we live in. Landscape exists only through our own experience. Perception of the external world occurs by selecting, consciously or unconsciously, the information to be elaborated through a cultural and visual map belonging to each one of us and transformed through our personal language of symbols. Each landscape is therefore unique and has a character which can be understood only through experience, comparison, analysis, and representation.


Can we consider the contemporary landscape an emerging phenomenon in which the influences of globalization relate to our lived experience?

Over the past few decades, we have been witnessing transformations of the world in which social, political, technological and economic issues are active agents dissolving sedimented concepts. The distinction between urban and rural and the idea of border, along with phenomena of human and natural alterations, are no longer connected to national identity. In the 21st century, landscape is an emerging form determined by globalization, conflicts, and environmental changes. Global elements may be recognized anywhere in the world – elements whose continuous forms of dispersion and concentration redefine geographies and territories, deeply altering their natures.


Research and investigations are conducted on these phenomena, permitting the proposal of more general hypotheses and considerations:
- Do forms of reading and representation capable of assimilating changes in society and the physical changes in contemporary cities exist?
- What is the Italian geographical identity of today?
- Can photography represent social landscape and, following this, those who live in it?
- Is it possible to interpret changes in terms of conflicts and differences interposing multiple identities, interculturality, multiethnic society and reinforcement of traditions?


DocumentaryPlatform is a project originating from the intent to observe what is happening in contemporary Italy at this historic moment. The reflections of various investigations conducted by photographers of the Italian territory and society are gathered together via the construction of a visual archive Documentary is the language of choice. It is an approach best suited for the study of contemporaneity and its criticalities, while attempting to define sets, series and relationships within itself (M. Foucault).


Through common and significant themes, it will be possible to construct series of series in which “visual correspondence” allows for the articulation of characteristics and the activation of reflections on a territory as structured and complex as the Italian one.

Constructing “visual correspondences” allows for the observation, within a comprehensive scheme, of how each context has been crossed over time by different settlement models, how a geographic region has been interpreted and reused by different social forms, how industrial development has contributed to the alteration of territory, and how the tourism industry has become the driving engine of future scenarios.

Photography, as an observer of transformations and through its widespread practice of appropriation, may play an ethical and even political role in learning how to look at contemporary society.