There is a resounding purity in the way Luca Tombolini depicts his landscapes. They are dreamlike; almost jarring against any sort of real-life aesthetic. Elements of abstraction creep in intermittently, but somehow, the photos almost always show a discernible part of terrain if you really look. Luca’s photography will draw you in initially with its ethereal flawlessness, but upon further dissection of the artist’s statement, you learn that it is as thoroughly contemplative and explorative as it is beautiful.
Luca was born 1979 in Milan. He completed humanistic studies and then a degree in Sciences of Communication, with a major on visual rhetoric in cinema in 2005. While studying, he discovered photography and started experimenting with large format cameras. Entirely self-taught, he continues to evolve his rather philosophical journey with large format photography of landscapes and real life scenes.
“My work consists of photographing landscapes during long solo trips in remote areas. Taking a long time to travel is necessary to revert to a more essential state of mind. Once there, facing basic life needs helps me to slowly drift back to a primeval link with nature, from which we generated. I rely rather unconsciously on my vision and emotions while making the necessary choices about what to photograph and how; this, along with the use of the large format medium makes the whole process extremely slow and meditative. I noticed through the years that I'm greatly attracted by pureness and simplicity. What I’m seeking into the landscape then becomes a mirror of what my 'self' might be. To this extent, landscapes are a visual representation of a part of my being, and my work became a mean on the path of my individuation process.”
In the tenth chapter of his bigger project about landscape studies (LS X), Luca visited western USA…
“Seeking a connection with the land as usual, I found a clashing difference between the majesty and spirituality of the sceneries and the values of contemporary society. Looking back through history, it is easy to see how little the newcomers had embraced the land's spirituality. The questions raised aren't just a local culture matter; they also made me think about which relationship modern man should adopt with the place that generated him. On the other end of the spectrum to mainstream contemporary culture, travelling and getting rid of our ‘social mask’ brings our mind closer to ancestral times, when man could only rely on his unconscious to cope with phenomena. Modern times and science now overshadow a time when myths and spiritual insight may have resolved any existential questioning.”
Luca’s most recent series definitely captures a spirituality and sense of transcendent ‘otherworldliness’ within otherwise commonplace landscapes. It asks, and maybe even answers questions about modern society comforts and whether they may be tearing us away from our bond with nature. Certainly the pull of the imagery makes us question why we would ever be anywhere else, when we could be there and want for nothing.
Luca Tombolini: lucatombolini.net