The Italian region of Abruzzo has an area of well over 4,000 square miles and an estimated population of 1.3 million. The land varies from domestic and pasoral, to exceedingly wild and mountainous. Hilltowns, castles and churches proliferate. Vineyards and olive groves are ubiquitous. Eighty miles of Adriatic shoreline provide endless points of view for a wandering photographer. Abruzzo is something of an enigma, steeped in ancient history and still highly volatile on a day-to-day basis. It is a place where time seems to have stood still, and yet there is ample evidence of its inevitable constant march. Many of the hilltowns still show the scars and damage from earthquakes in 2009 and 2015. This year, more earthquakes have struck, resulting in the very recent, extremely tragic landslide in Rigopiano, where 29 people perished. Primo Levi has aptly described Abruzzo as “forte e gentile” (strong and gentle).
Michael Kenna has been looking at our world in ways quite out of the ordinary for over forty years. His mysterious photographs, often made at dawn or in the dark hours of night, concentrate primarily on the interaction between the natural landscape and human-made structures. Kenna is both a diurnal and nocturnal photographer, fascinated by times of day when light is at its most pliant. With long time - exposures which might last throughout the night, his photographs often record details that the human eye is not able to perceive. Kenna is particularly famous for the intimate scale of his photography and his meticulous personal printing style. He works in the traditional, non-digital, photographic medium. His exquisitely hand crafted black and white prints, which he makes himself, reflect a sense of refinement, respect for history, and thorough originality. Kenna’s photographs have been shown in gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the world, and are included in such permanent collections as The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The Shanghai Art Museum; and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Over sixty monographs and exhibition catalogs have been published on Kenna’s work, including; Michael Kenna - A Twenty Year Retrospective (Treville, 1994 and Nazraeli, 2000); Impossible to Forget (Marval and Nazraeli, 2001); Japan (Nazraeli Press and Treville Editions, 2003); Retrospective Two (Nazraeli, and Treville Editions, 2004); Michael Kenna – A Retrospective (BnF, 2009); Immagini del Settimo Giorno (Skira, 2010); China (Posts and Telecom Press, 2014); France (Nazraeli Press 2014); and Forms of Japan (Prestel 2015). Born in Widnes, England in 1953, Kenna currently lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and continues to photograph throughout the world. Website: www.michaelkenna.com