Artist statement

“Vision has the power to create our knowledge and it orients our memory. As a photographer, my fate is to remain forever hostage to my own gaze. Destined to the mission of memory, to the circular motion of nostalgia.”

Luca Campigotto

"Campigotto slows the process of photographing down by using large-format digital backs (as he used to use large-format film cameras) and lets his apparatus gather as much information as possible. He seeks to approach that other, older temporal velocity perhaps in the hope that a wider trace of time might be arrested in his images and that this trace can stand as a fuller testimony to what has been.

The landscape Campigotto shows us is hardly romantic. The world is leached of color, only gray, white, pale blue and silver – with patches of green to remind viewers that life is still possible. It is a landscape that cannot be domesticated by aesthetics or colonized for the picturesque.... Campigotto seeks the primal, the prelinguistic, a territory beyond or before signification. “The strength of the sublime remains beyond any rhetoric,” he has remarked. “The eye gets lost searching distance, contemplating what was made to be stronger than us."

Lyle Rexer on Theatres of War

"Neither a journalist nor a story teller, Campigotto is, in fact, a scene shaper. He makes no claims to this being an encyclopedic project and works instinctively, as he has described it, to photograph “the container of events”.
Taken together, the images in this book suggest that as Campigotto surveys New York, he, too, sees it as a succession of theatrical spaces or movie sets.

The possibility for narrative that is embedded in these photographs is reinforced by the fact that Campigotto often works at night when, he says, “the outcome is unpredictable. The lights, the contrasts, the colors are more interpretive... Night makes evocation more plausible”. And so does the post-production work Campigotto subsequently does on the images themselves. After they are shot, he carefully rebuilds them, recalibrating their color saturation so that the subtlest details that would have disappeared in the shadows begin to assert themselves. Once they do, something odd and magical is set in motion. The not-quite-naturalistic palette of these images makes the atmosphere they depict feel immersive. Coupling the camera’s forensic gaze with a decidedly romantic sensibility, Campigotto creates extraordinary and haunting photographs in which the present and the past, and desire and nostalgia coexist."

Marvin Heiferman on Gotham City