There is no visual instrument as effective as fog. This useless weather condition which can make even the most everyday things appear mysterious and timeless, this blanket of gray nothing that can be pulled down over even the dullest landscape and make it appear as an unknown country, this huge tool that must have been intended for photographers on the day the weather was invented, because there is no tool in neither Photoshop or similar programs that can evoke the same atmosphere as fog.
It is not a coincidence that I use the word tool to describe the fog, because as it is with tools, instruments and so much else you patiently have to learn to use before it generates results, some learn the craft to a degree where they master it, and some are less fortunate. In the case of Robero Schena you get the feeling that you are dealing with one of the masters in the art of fog.
Roberto Schenas series “SP 67” that has recently been published in book form by Punctum Press, is a visually heavy experience. The few places the fog does not rule in the photos, night time or heavy downpour take over. Reality gets blurred, and what remains are roads no one can see where ends, impervious landscapes, night lit cities that seem unattainable, night walkers, car wrecks and diffuse images, resembling the day after, where it is unclear whether the images were part of your drunkenness or memories from dreams in the sleep that followed. The series is nightmarish, as a thriller or a Playstation game where it quickly becomes clear that you must stay away from the animals. From the close up of the horses’ wild eyes, past the stray dogs at night, to the wild hog, which majestically arrogant thrones from a hilltop, with the forest hidden in the fog as a backdrop, all the animals are radiating a do-not-come-too-near attitude.
But you do not want to get too close, it would seem like a punishment to be thrown into this landscape that appears so obstinate and implacable. It took Roberto Schena three years to cultivate this series, and his patience has given a fantastic return. The series is based on the landscape surrounding a thirteen kilometer long road near Genoa. Without knowing the area I refuse to believe that the weather and surroundings looks like this every day, but Roberto Schena has succeeded to capture a mood that echoes in the area. Just as images of war can hold great aesthetics, you are drawn to these images, while counting yourself lucky that you can enjoy them from afar.