Luca Tombolini

PHOTO  .  November 23rd, 2015

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Interview with the Italian photographer, Luca Tombolini.


Hi Luca, who are you?

I’d say i’m a normal guy with a complicate question.

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Give us 2 songs you like at the moment.

golden arrow‘ by nicholas jaar and dave harrington .. And ‘girl boy tom‘ in desert sessions vol.1

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On your website we can see 4 series of amazing pictures of landscapes, beautiful rocks and raw nature.
Can you tell us why did you begin these series and if there’s been an evolution in your way of taking pictures, of feeling the places?

It was 2011 and i was in a dead end with the photographic jobs i was doing at that time. So i asked myself for real what i would really photograph if i was free to choose what i wanted. These landscapes popped out from somewhere.
Yes of course there has been a great evolution, and more to come. To cut it short: at the beginning i was choosing what to photograph relying a lot on the aesthetic result while now the process has gone a lot more spiritual. I’m giving myself a lot of time to spend in these landscapes, and thru contemplation i’m trying to lead my mind in a more irrational state. When this happens i feel i’m more chasing the sensations a view gives me rather then consciously choosing it… So basically a process i was consciously leading has now taken over and is now leading me somewhere.

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Except for the last series, you never say where the pictures have been taken, why is that?

I consider these views as abstracts. I do not mean to describe anything of that particular place and therefore the location isn’t important. About LSVII on the contrary i could feel the big presence of the recent history (WW II former concentration camp) and so the location became important.

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What camera(s) do you use and why this choice?

I only use a 4×5 in. camera, shoot negatives and drum scan them. It’s a really contemplative photography what i’m doing and that’s a very contemplative camera. I would happily use also bigger formats like 8×10 in. but it becomes problematic to carry it alone during trekking.

Online, your works begin on the 4th series, what happen to the 3 first? and when did you begin this whole project?

The first three series do exist but i’ve cut them from the collection as i think i wasn’t spiritually ready (as stated in my answer above). Everything you see online is so now part of the same process.
The very first picture of the LS series was made in 2011. There’s a lot of pics i like in those early series but i prefer to show only complete works.

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Do you have other creative (or not) projects beside this LS work?

No, for now i’m only dedicating to this project and how to finance it properly.

You shoot your last series – VII : Memoria – on Pag Island, Croatia where a concentration camp was active during summer of 1941. How did you end up here? Did you feel something special when you were wandering in this area?

I ended up to that croatian island driven by a kind of landscape which i thought i could stay in and discover which sensations it had to offer me. I was aware that a concentration camp was around but in the first days i didn’t bump into it. When i finally arrived there and started to recognize the few signs left, i had some pieces of the puzzle. Until one night i finally managed to find stories from the few survivors and from the officials that had to close it down and sanitize it in Sept 1941. Human behaviour can become so twisted and cruel; i was horrified reading those stories and i was right in the place where all that human annihilation happened. For the nights i was just staying still, breathing quietly and staring into the void, and i still remember that sensation. And yet nowadays that place is so calm and serene, one would never imagine what happened just few decades ago.

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What’s next for you Luca?

In this period i think i might use my time to study a bit more myself and what i’m doing; destinations in the world are plenty and i’ve got them studied and filed in a list, one of those will unconsciously pop up when i’ll be ready for it.

Which computer modifications do you apply on your photographs?

What you see is the scanning result. I’m using an old drum scanner that i love for the pastel color tones, and i greatly take care of how the negative is exposed to achieve that result. I tried to touch them a bit in photoshop but i feel that as soon as you change something the image
looses that natural feeling.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your next series, LS VIII ?

I traveled to Iceland with my 4×4 and stayed long enough to get to know three magic places i chose before. That land is just overwhelming and sleeping alone in places no one has ever lived into is a sensation that really pushes your mind back to some very early stage of its evolution. It makes you think about the ‘second creation’, that moment back in human history when for the first time someone consciously thought ‘this exist’. If i managed to put this sensation into the pics i’ve done i’d be extremely happy.


How do you choose your shooting locations? Do you go there just to take pictures or is it also part of a bigger trip?

I carefully choose the places before, there’s a very long preparation job which i do before deciding to move. And once there i need to solve all the problems about ‘how to’ be able to take pictures and evaluate risks and means of transportation. 4×4, trekking and kayak are the most common solutions. Of course if i could have much more time to dedicate to projects i’d be very happy to make the shooting a part of a longer trip; maybe in future.

What are you going to do just after having answered to this final question?

Some tennis :) and after that to my films and scanner to try to finish LS VIII which i’ll publish soon.

Thanks a lot Luca!

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