seeking simplicity in the umbrian countryside
Dramatically set atop a plateau of eroded volcanic tufa in the Umbrian countryside, Orvieto, Italy is a fortified city that has been populated since Etruscan times. My first visit to Orvieto took place four years ago to photograph for a book - exploring the role artwork plays in the life of a community.
Throughout my commercial work in London I am constantly manipulating scenes and images, but when I photograph in Italy, I am at the mercy of the light. While Italian light can be soft, it is not shy. It is assertive and it requires a certain kind of patience.
I returned this past June for my fourth visit. Every summer when I return to the city, I return older and wiser, but always in need of its remedy; its lingering scent of jasmine and abundance of fresh apricots. Although the city is evolving, it still retains a familiarity.
Most of the streets of Orvieto are rather quaint, but if you head down the Via Del Duomo, you will be met with the façade of a 14-century masterpiece, the Duomo di Orvieto. While the façade is adorned with ornate mosaics and large bronze doors, the sides consist of strikingly simple alternating black and white stripes. I continued this juxtaposition in my choice of photographs, choosing not only to show the grandeur of Orvieto but glimpses of ordinary, everyday life.
When walking the warm cobblestone streets I greet the shop owners and friends that I have met over the years. There is a particular slowness that I feel during my stays. There is no hurriedness, no pretence, just a sense of quiet and calm. Sometimes my days consist of simply going to the market, and that feels like enough. If you walk down the main street during dinner time, all you hear are the sounds of knives and forks hitting dinner plates from the open windows above. This is all a part of Orvieto’s profound rhythm, a rhythm that prioritises togetherness.