Pamela Testa



For some time now, my work is mainly concerned with the exploration of the territory of the region where I was born and where I live, and the observation of its evolution, i.e. its change over time.
As for this place in particular, a rural area that belongs to the lower valley of the Sangro river, I initially meant to photograph this land with the idea of ​​witnessing the impact of a major infrastructure, as dangerous as useless, recently implanted in these countryside: a new, colossal high-voltage power line, whose pylons are seventy meters tall, a power line that is not desired by the farmers, who fought against its implementation. My subject would have to be just the new power line.
When I found myself on the spot and I started to look at the landscape, however, I realized this place to be a very significant and fascinating one in itself. I was especially struck by the elegance of these bare hills, covered with earth alone, shaped by the plow to the time of sowing: they were magnificent in their golden hues against the blue of the sky, and somehow familiar, able to evoke in me an ancestral memory.
So I started to think about the strong ambivalence that I was facing: the action of man, one that produces what we call landscape, has the potential of completely opposite outcomes. Human activity can visibly transform the land for useful purposes (such as agriculture), making it different from how it would be in “nature” (i.e. without human intervention), but just as beautiful, and also making such land meaningful to us over time; or human action may transform the land for purposes whose usefulness is questionable (as in the case of the power line in question), making the landscape not just ugly, but, I would say, stranger, alien to human eyes. This ambivalence has become my new subject, I felt the need to bear witness to this ambivalence and to portray what was in front of my eyes, this was the twofold reason that led me to take these series of pictures.
I can indeed say that the series that I present is, simultaneously, a documentary work, focused on a place and what is happening there, and a work created with a more subjective attitude, I would say a work of portraiture, in which I propose my own way to see a photographic subject and my emotional relationship with it, a photographic subject which in this case is a rural landscape, an inanimate portion of land that is completely unaware of me, but that is placed in front of the my gaze as if it were posing for me.

(Film photography, 2016)