LIFTING GROUND SHADOWS
BY ENRICO DI NARDO
Enrico di Nardo photographed “Lifting Ground Shadows” in the territory that used to be Lake Fucino, Italy, which was drained in the nineteenth century. Di Nardo’s photographs are eerie, lonely, like bits of memory that have floated up to the surface. He highlights the uncomfortable meeting of new and old natural environments – the replacement of a noxious natural space with a productive-yet-bland man-made space.
From The Draining of Lake Fucino (1876):
Those who dwell by the side of a dangerous lake, are always exposed to the risk of seeing their fields become a prey to the advancing waters often for several years at a time, and when at last by the receding of the lake they regain possession of their property, they have to incur a heavy expenditure to render the land fit for cultivation, besides being exposed to all the maladies produced by the swampy condition of the soil. But how long can they be sure of enjoying what costs them such enormous sacrifices? Sometimes the land scarcely begins to be productive when a new rising of the lake reduces them again to misery. But on the shores of Lake Fucino this terrible state of things was more severely felt than elsewhere, for the Marsi, who inhabited the very mountainous country about the lake, had no other plain but that of Fucino to which they could look for their supplies of cereals and other produce of the soil. The rest of the territory being, in fact, nothing but steep mountain sides on which cultivation was next to impossible, and which the interest of the country itself forbade to be cleared of its forests and pastures.
The Marsi seeing their inability to cope with the evil, had recourse in their ignorance to a supposed god of the Fucino, they raised temples to him and were liberal of vows and offerings, but in vain, for the capricious god did not cease in the least from his hostilities. The moment came, however, in which his victims reflected that there was a human genius which might successfully cope with that of the lake; they turned their eyes to Julius Caesar, and he, desirous of pleasing the Marsi, whose friendship he had learned to value during the social war, promised to come to their assistance.
Enrico Di Nardo grew up in Pescara, Italy, and graduated with a degree in physics from Pisa University. After studying neuroscience, he moved to Paris to conduct research on the neural basis of memory. He taught himself photography while on leave from the university and studied documentary photography in Rome for one year. Starting in 2015, his works have been included in group exhibitions and slideshows in Italy, Malaysia, Greece, and France. He took part in the performances of TempsZero and his work was featured in the photobook A Place Both Wonderful and Strange (FuegoBooks 2017), a collection of works inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks.