Giuseppe Moccia – A Third Landscape?

Giuseppe Moccia

A Third Landscape?

The Alps form both a natural and a cultural landscape, place of a diversity which is not only biological but also cultural.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, a widespread wealth along with the exploits of a group of Italian athletes, known as the “Italian Landslide”, set the basis for an economic development model which revealed it’s unsustainability.

Ski-oriented tourism was introduced as the unique solution to the depopulation and impoverishment process that took place around the alps. This model led to the construction of hundreds of facilities, many of which, for various reasons, are nowadays abandoned.

“A Third Landscape?” is a photo-essay on the region and on the consequences of the mono-culture of ski-tourism.
Beyond the direct journalistic value – related to the localization of these remote sites and the collection of their history – the approach and the synthesis of this research would suggest an open-mindedness between different points of view.On one side, the idealistic views of the contemporary citizen, re-educated to the principles of the green-economy, and, on the other side, the secularized views of the mountaineer who interacts with his environment in a natural resource-threat dynamic.

Within this confrontation Clement’s vision opens a third way, full of questioning, to an understanding of the forces which shape our landscape.




Giuseppe Moccia was born in Naples in 1978. He grew up in Rome and completed his studies in Milan with a Master Degree in International Economics.

Giuseppe started as a freelance photographer collaborating with some of the main international press agencies like Associated Press and EPA among the others.

In 2007 he started a personal project on people affected by down syndrome which received international recognitions such as the “Photoespana-Ojodepez Human Value Award” and the “Flashforward” for Emerging Photographers of the Magenta Foundation (Canada). “I Love too Much”, which followed up the photo-essay “The Wednesday Kid”, is his first attempt with cinematography. Giuseppe is now working on a  project on the changes of the anthropic landscape in Italy.


13 Responses to “Giuseppe Moccia – A Third Landscape?”

  • Congrats for being published, it is well deserved.
    Thank you for this very informative essay, well photographed.

  • A quiet, subdued essay that makes a loud statement about an issue I had no idea even existed.

  • and bland comes to mind

  • These photos actually say something rather than being merely decorative; it is not difficult to see why you would find them boring.

  • I have no great interest in the decorative but these are conceptually barren as well.

  • Other than that it is all point and shoot stuff with the so called subject in the centre photo after photo after photo

  • Good job.

    But maybe, from my point of view, some photos are uselessly repeated.

    Interesting subject and well photographed.

  • I’d echo Frostfrog’s comment and particularly like Nos 1,5 and 12.

  • I’ve been thinking about this essay for a few days, and enjoy the fact it has stayed with me for all that time. The landscapes are particularly wonderful. Those images with the abandoned pylons, jumps, and tracks placed mid-plane and reductively centred remind me of the current fashion in photography; the distant, detached, posed, standing-in-nature portraits we see, especially in medium-format work. In the same way the critically acclaimed portraits work – their strong point being the level of trust felt between the subject and photographer – so do Moccia’s. It is as if the “third landscape” presents itself to Moccia in-trust, as if the story of micro-economic stupidity is asking to be given voice. So, the folly of the attraction of the Italian Landslide skiers, fashionable half a century ago, is now associated with the distant and trusting style fashionable in today’s fine art photography.

    To repeat: I very much like this essay. But in general the inability of photographers to get past their end-point of trust with their human subjects is something that bothers me. It is fine when the photographer is shy and distant to work this way; that is a fair and sincere approach. My suspicions are that too many photographers who don’t share that trait are also working the fourth wall of photography under the narrow-minded, restricting influence of the fifth wall – ie., the critics, galleries, and influential collectors.

    Joan Didion: “Grammar is a piano I play by ear, since I seem to have been out of school the year the rules were mentioned. All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed. Many people know about camera angles now, but not so many know about sentences. The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture. Nota bene.

    It tells you.
    You don’t tell it.”

    I wish that was the case with more photo-essays.

  • Jeff, I’m unclear about what you’re trying to say about the trust issue. Do you mean that the subject doesn’t trust the photographer or that the photographer doesn’t trust the audience?

    On the importance of establishing trust between the photographer and subject, I’m pretty much totally indifferent. Some photographers work one way, others another. Of course I’d say that it’s important for the photographer to figure out what kind of person he or she is and then own it rather than trying to be something one is not. But I don’t see any kind of universal rule.

    Regarding the question of the photographer trusting the audience; that, I find, very interesting. I can see that you might be saying that use of this “distant” style requires the photographer to trust that the audience will give the photograph due attention despite it’s lack of theatricality. By theatricality I mean such things as rules of composition, color theory, decisive moment; anything which gives a composition any kind of wow factor.

    Personally, I’ve struggled to appreciate this kind of un-theatrical photography. Yet I know it’s what’s valued most in the art world.

    I walked past an expensive art gallery the other day and noticed a canvas that was painted entirely white. Of course that wasn’t the first time I’d seen a canvas painted entirely white (or black, red, and single color). The first I recall was at the modern art museum at Beaubourg in Paris. And I’ve seen any number over the years. I get that it’s not meant to be decorative art, that it’s making some kind of intellectual statement about the ultimate vacuity of color and composition and I’m fine with that. But although I find the original idea valid as art and interesting to contemplate, I see no point whatsoever in seeing it repeated over and over again. Solid color on canvas. Decorative art vacant. Got it.

    Anyway, so I’ve learned to appreciate, for example, a Jeff Wall photo of something that is totally unremarkable photographed in a consciously unremarkable way. Same with the urban landscape. But at some point I feel that’s been done and it strikes me as pointless for anyone to continue churning out essentially the same photo that makes exactly the same point.

    On the other hand, I see how to often we get carried away with theatricality in photos. Saturated, unreal colors or sharpness; subjects arranged Cartier-Bresson like. But still, there are infinite ways to be theatrical in photography. Infinite ideas that can be portrayed theatrically. And that’s what most of us, as humans, crave. Although I love modern art and enjoy learning what it’s about intellectually, I can’t help but note how the modern art wing of the museum is always practically empty of patrons compared to, say, the impressionist/post impressionist galleries.

  • Michael:

    Thanks for the reply. The relationship of trust I was talking about is the one that quickly develops between subject and photographer, and I guess you’re perceptive in figuring out the other one – which I hadn’t thought of – which is the trust between the critic/reviewer/collector, the audience, and the photographer. I find it personally wanting that the photographer throws away an opportunity to use the trust with the subject, and stops the image-making at the typical grave, serious, “important” portrait. Cameras are meant to record a moment in less than a second; why do so many images mimic the painted portrait look…or the old time long-exposed image from the first era of photography?

    Sontag said that aesthetic judgements are based on cultural evaluations. That these mysterious, still and quiet portraits are all the rage with galleries and festivals, critics and collectors, either suggests that they are easy to appreciate, or society is consumed with detachment and distance in our relationships. Is that really a fair comment on current cultural evaluation? I also think there is a very strong overlap between social documentary photography and fine art photography; it’s ironic that so much social documentary work is done by shy and emotionally distant photographers. If I see an essay that doesn’t have at least one image of any sort showing a human relationship or human interaction, I can’t really get behind the work as a social document. That’s strictly my own aethetic judgement.

    It’s funny that you mention Jeff Wall. He went through a period where he’d see an interaction on the street, and then artfully recreate later, with models and perfect lighting. It was an interesting intellectual endeavour…very few photographers can master the art of setting up at a shot of human interactions. His images of that type were filled with mystery, but i prefer the found image of ineraction and relationships captured in real-life situations, if for no other reason than that it’s the most difficult to capture.


    Interesting and thoughtful discussion you two guys are having which also mirrors some of my reactions to and frustrations with currently popular modes in both portrait photography and landscape photography.

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