Una Questione Meridionale #3 Sergio Camplone Ultrashop

More about Sergio Camplone

How did you choose your means of expression?

After dedicating the first part of my life to music, I became interested in photography, I studied photography at the ‘c.f.p. Riccardo Bauer’ in Milan. I graduated in 2000. I think photography chose me.

Is this medium secondary to or closely-linked to your subject?

Currently it is closely related to what I do and how I do it.

What material do you use and why?

All the images in my current portfolio were created using medium format, alternating between 6 x 7 film and digital. Maybe it’s an obsession or maybe it’s just a question of quality.

How does a work session take shape?

It depends on the type of job. Commissioned works are subject to deadlines, while my own projects that start from my reflections take a long time. Normally I start from books that I am reading at that time, or about facts and people that arouse my interest.

Can you explain to me how your work has evolved since starting out?

I don’t know exactly. I think it was a progression linked to my growing interests. At first, I was interested in the landscape and how it changes over time. Then the relationship between humans and nature, and lastly science.


Do your origins and culture play a role in the works that you produce?

I think so, I live on the east coast of central-southern Italy and this area shaped my use of light. (a clear and cold light) In Italy landscape photography originated with Luigi Ghirri, who was also influenced by that same cold central Italian light bathed by the Adriatic Sea.

Which events have influenced you most?

I don’t know the answer to this question.

What are your sources of inspiration?

When I was younger besides music, I loved reading so-called anticipation novels. Dystopian science fiction like that by Philip K. Dick, documentaries by Werner Herzog, essays by Jared Diamond, the extraordinary urban visions of Mike Davis and J. G. Ballard’s “future”.

Are there any anecdotes that enable the genesis of your work to be understood?

Perhaps in 1997 when I decided to completely change my life and left my city in southern Italy to start studying photography in a large city in the north, Milan, which has been my home for 10 years. In Milan I received my first photography book “niente di antico sotto il sole” by Luigi Ghirri as a gift. Now it is very difficult to find and expensive That book was like an epiphany from which my interest in the landscape on the edge of big cities started: The periphery.

Are current events taken into account in your production or on the contrary do you distance yourself from them?

They are absolutely taken into consideration. Art should question the present in order to question the future. For me, photography is an investigative tool, not soothing.


Are your works more of a dialogue, a trace or a denunciation?

I’d say more a track. I can only suggest reflections on what surrounds us. I think the only purpose of an artist is to create doubts about what you are looking at.

Do you wish to make viewers wonder or do you prefer to question them?

Art must be cunning to raise problems and doubts. Art is always a source of wonder and beauty, even when it is hard.

How do you view human beings, and consequently your work?

This is an extremely difficult question. After several years of landscape photography and analysis of the territory, where I tended to marginalize the human figure, I’ve gone back to confronting people and portraits. I’m interested in the landscape, especially new models of living, but always depending on people and their ability to change the landscape, to make their own landscapes. People are at the centre of my work.

How would you compare your last work with the next?

My latest work is the result of these unanticipated times: my quarantine for COVID-19. The previous one is the result of an artist’s residence in Calabria, in southern Italy. They are very different from each other because they result from different reflections. However, the approach is similar.

Is art poetry or social intervention?

When these two things merge, the miracle of art occurs.


How do you view your own work?

This interview while is taking place mid-COVID-19 quarantine. I don’t know, maybe it’s time to clarify some of my ideas.

What are your current and future projects?

I am currently working on portraits, but I am continuing my ongoing research on the evolution of the landscape and contemporary architecture, attracted to those places that are subject to progressive changes and transformations over time.

Do you have anything else to add? I’ll let you have the last word…

I think that passion for art and beauty unites everyone involved in Ultrashop – the founders and collectors. So, I am more than happy to be part of this project.