Says Alfonso: I have built a filter made of selenite – crystalline mineral gypsum – and used it to document the vestiges of the old town of Gessopalena (Italy), whose habitations are dug into the gypsum rock itself. Destroyed by a quake in 1933 and razed to the ground again in 1943 by the WWII, Gessopalena is also my hometown and a place from which I moved away. Like personal relationships, gypsum shows translucency, opacity, and color. As such, it becomes an allegory of the dealings, connections, and exchanges with locals and my family members.
Employing a selenite filter sabotages all optical properties of modern-day lenses. I do so on purpose and embrace the imperfections. I feel the blurry images coming out the selenite filter can establish a new dialogue with the town I come from. Literally taken from the territory being represented, I want the medium to speak about our common place of origin and its lost way of life.
The process was inspired by a geological feature of the territory. Known in the Ancient Rome as Terræ Gypsi, the town stands on a gypsum outcrop. The gypsum stone found there exhibits so obvious crystalline structure that the town was also known as Preta Lucente, or Shining Stone.
This body of work is printed on satin paper, to resemble the gypsum. Likewise, some prints have been toned in blue to reflect the feeling to the touch of such stone. Gypsum, in fact, has natural thermal insulating properties; and, as a result, all its varieties feel cold to the touch.
Alfonso De Gregorio is an Italian process-oriented conceptual documentary photographer. At the intersection of art and documentary, his idea of photography is to raise powerful and political questions about the world we live in. He believes that photography succeeds in doing so when it spotlights social, cultural, and environmental realities, and provides us with new perspectives and lenses for interpreting where we stand. His photography practice is most concerned with the aesthetics and politics of surveillance, traumatic memories, and environmental destruction.
Alfonso uses his cybersecurity background to research novel processes. Assessed their narrative power, he matches them to a subject-matter and develops the concept. The final projects are the result of the combination of the designed photographic process and the concept, backed by his craft. In his latest projects, Alfonso repurposed imaging technology for doing video surveillance to the spaces that lays at the intersection of art and documentary. He turned surveillance technology towards himself, to record the resulting introspective investigations. In so doing, he aimed to address wider realities that the viewers may have experienced in their lives too.
Alfonso is two-times Winner of the Allard Prize Photography competition, recipient of a Honourable Mention at the 2018 IPA, Nominee to the PhotogrVphy Grant 2018, Finalist of HIPA 2017-2018, Finalist of Premio Voglino 2018, two-times Nominee to the 2017-2018 Fine Art Photography Awards, and recipient of a Honourable Mention at the MonoVisions Photography Awards 2018 – And generally he does not speak of himself in the third person.