Skyline in Rome

Skyline in Rome
Skyline in RomeSkyline in RomeFree ParticlesFree Particles
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Free Particles in the Diffused Skyline of Rome

2017 - 2018, ongoing

digital photography, broken and disassembled lens


Rome is one of the few European capitals whose enchanting and romantic skyline is not broken and cut up by skyscrapers. From the human perspective, the highest buildings in the historical Rome within the Aurelian Walls are the churches, the same as centuries ago. The domes dominate the skyline and delineate it with smooth curves.


In addition to these religious symbols, the horizon is lined with recurring patterns of terraces and windows, many of which fetch surprise details. This harmonious vista is at odds with the usual modern cityscape and has a surreal impact, acting as a world disassociated from the modern urban architecture but nevertheless seething with life.


Provoked by this perception I shot panoramic views from the famous terraces of Rome with a modern but at the same surreal touch. I use a broken lens to bring parts of the image out of focus and code the skyline as a dynamic boundary between the worlds, an area between the visible and the invisible. The optical aberrations of the lens-refracted light create circles of colour and rainbows. These optical objects are part of the compositional elements and reinforce the perception of weightlessness created by the beautiful panoramic view.


The sequence includes views from dozens of terraces in Rome. Some of them are famous tourist landmarks, such as the hills surrounding the Forum and Trajan's Market, the terraces  on Janiculum hill, Aventine hill, Pincio, Viale del Belvedere, Castel Sant’ Angelo, Il Vittoriano, the Eitch Borromini terrace, Hotel Minerva, etc. Exploring the city for new panoramic views I found some less popular locations such as Villa Aldobrandini, Piazzale Caffarelli, Sfiato Rifugio Antiaereo, and many rooftop bars. All this started from a lucky happenstance – the building I was staying in during my creative sabbatical in the heart of Rome was one of the tallest building in the Monti artistic neighbourhood, and gave me a 360-degree view of the near distance delineated by no less than 17 domes.


Free Particles in the Diffused Skyline in Rome presents urban views captured with optical aberrations from broken and disassembled lenses 50 mm f/1.8, 50 mm f/1.4, 24 mm f/2.8. These "particles" are the reflected lights of the city, emitted by street lamps, cars, displays and spotlights.


The optical aberration is the distortion of light which photo technicians treated as a fault and did away with as early as the nineteenth century. In the sequence, these irregularities mix the reality that is the genuine one to the human eye with the optical reality that arises when the light falls into the photographer's hands and deviates from its straight path.