Guido Cozzi: Beirut, Dust and Salt

November 14th, 2017 6:00 PMtoDecember 8th, 2017 6:00 PM

In a world in continuous flux, expansion and disintegration, the only certainty is change. Photography is, among many other things, an attempt to preserve a passing moment for an infinite amount time. We know that this gesture is in vain, however: everything is destined to transform into other states in which the traces of its previous condition are lost. Often, we erroneously call this process destruction.

Through a hands-on and almost alchemical manipulation of the photographic surface, it is possible to accelerate this process of deterioration to predict what will become of those people, objects and places photographed in time gone by.

To explore this concept, I traveled to Beirut, where I had done many previous projects and had gained significant professional experience. I brought forty rolls of reversal film and took forty identical photographs in thirty-six identical specimens: one roll per image. Upon returning home, I began to work with the 1,440 negatives, using 36 different treatments which included elements that I had collected on site. Each element has both poetic significance and particular chemical traits: seawater from Beirut, dust from buildings still marked by bullet holes, dirt from the Green Line, leaves, grass, sand and stones. Bathing the film in various solutions pushed the images, all 1,440 fragments of Beirut, towards an accelerated transformation and a degradation of the surface through these various chemical processes.

The result is nothing more than the revelation of our most obvious predictions, but not without surprises: the metamorphosis towards destruction often passes through states of unexpected aesthetic balance.

Guido Cozzi was born in Florence in 1962.  He has worked on hundreds of photographic assignments for specialized publications in the geographic, ethnographic and touristic sectors.  In 1991 he founded Atlantide Phototravel with Stefano Amantini and Massimo Borchi, a photographic agency specialized in travel coverage.  Today he alternates between photographic assignments for major international archives and his own personal research related to his environment, experimenting with various narrative styles and their respective themes.

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