Ten years ago, my hometown of L’Aquila, Italy was struck by a dreadful earthquake. Until recently, I did not have the courage to take pictures of the destruction.
Now, through my camera, I have found the motivation to express the anger, sadness, and desire for rebirth that I have felt inside since that day. Using my camera, I can focus a high-level of attention on places that are symbols of abandonment in my beloved city.
Words and images by Luca Parisse
Renatas Salichovas, a professional trial biker, has been fundamental in achieving this project.
Renatas faced big urban obstacles while biking in L’Aquila. The obstacle would stop his path. He would have to study it, analyze it, and get through it.
Jumping over the obstacle, looking ahead to the future, but without forgetting the past. This is the motto of my project.
Renatas faced many difficulties in the devastated city. A professional athlete conditioned to face outdoor challenges, he had to adjust to the urban environment. Sometimes, the walls on which he jumped crumbled. It was never certain whether a wall would support him and his bike. Due to this, the technical acts he carried out were often un-repeatable, as it was too dangerous for Renatas to try more than once.
Weather also posed a challenge. L’Aquila is nestled amongst mountains and received much snowfall this past year. Over our long period of shooting (November 2018 to March 2019), it was necessary to take many breaks for bad weather.
Fighting against the cold and wind, Renatas worked to balance his bike on very high walls.
I needed to shoot him from a long distance, in a perfect position between two windows of a destroyed building… and we managed to do this!
It was often necessary to use artificial lights to brighten desolated places and underline the tragedy of the site. Many times, I would set up a power generator and a smoke machine to create a mystical atmosphere, like a forgotten forest.
Despite all these challenges, Renatas satisfied all my requests. It is very important that there is great harmony and confidence between athlete and photographer.
I am a sports photographer. But, for the first time, I managed through action photography to convey a social problem. In this case, the abandonment of places in my city. I hope to send a message to continue to fight for a better future in my city.
I will present my work in the major city of my region, and in autumn my photos will be in Rome and Milan.
Riding Death in Town, a jump toward the future!
During the shooting i used Loka UL mostly with this equipment:
Canon Eos 1d X mkII camera, Canon eos 6d mlii backup camera
Canon 24mm ts-e, 24-70mm 2,8 II, 70-200mmm, f2,8 II and 35mm f1,4, 16-35mm f2,8
Elinchrom transmitter pro
1 High Performance Reflector 48° 26 cm
1 Lasportiva goretex jacket
In the Shinn i brought:
1 elinchrom ELB 500 with action head
1 old elinchrom ranger quadra with action head
1 manfrotto nano tripod
1 elinchrome tripod.